The Government through the office of Commissioner for Cooperatives has sent packing the management committee of the troubled Rumukia Coffee Cooperative Society in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri over poor management that has sunk the once giant society in financial mess.
The decision follows an inquiry carried out by the County Government of Nyeri and the State Department of Cooperatives over allegations of financial misappropriation on the part of the current management committee.
The commissioner for cooperatives also ordered for an election to be carried out on Tuesday next week to select a five-member interim committee to oversee the running of the society for the next three months pending elections of a fully-fledged committee.
The management has been on the spotlight over a Sh. 60 million loan secured several years back that has to date accrued to Sh. 163 million with the financier, Taifa Sacco threatening to auction its assets to recover their money.
However, farmers affiliated to the society have categorically distanced themselves from the loan facility saying that they did not sanction it and neither did it benefit them.
For years, farmers from eight factories affiliated to the society have been receiving near nil payments for their produce owing to this debt prompting many to move to other societies or turn to hawking their coffee altogether.
According to the findings released today at Thunguri Coffee Factory by Assistant Commissioner for Cooperatives Peter Wanjohi, there was carelessness on the part of management with regard to unsound financial decisions attributable to successive managements since 2012.
“The main problem here is financial discipline where shortfalls have been financed carelessly through borrowing and this has made the loan portfolio to keep building up every year,” said Wanjohi.
He continued that instead of looking for a lasting solution, the management kept on borrowing to sustain the bloated expenses as well subsidize payments to members to ostensibly “please them.”
The farmers were however not satisfied with the recommendations since they expected legal action taken against those culpable and probably have their properties attached to repay the loan.
However, Wanjohi informed them that they could request a forensic audit to be carried out once a substantive committee is in office as the inquiry was only meant to unearth what was ailing the society.
“What is important for now is to build the confidence of members who have left so that they can come back to prevent the imminent danger of total collapse of the society,” said the officer.
He, at the same time, asked the County Government, which is the main supervisor of coffee societies in the area to closely work with the interim committee to help it regain the lost glory.
by Samuel Waititu