April 30th 2017

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Kangundo farmers group accuse officials of stealing Sh20 million

Throughout the stormy meeting, area District Cooperatives Officer Richard Mulela, who also got his share of accusation for allegedly covering up the perceived culprits, remained tight-lipped as he watched the unfolding drama.

By Rose Mukonyorosemukonyo@yahoo.comSaturday, 19 Nov 2016 13:05 EAT

Enraged farmers camped outside Kangundo deputy county commissioner's office. (Photo: Rose Mukonyo/Kenya Free Press).

A coffee society based in Kangundo is staring at a management and operational crisis after an audit report revealed millions of shillings had been misappropriated by its managers. The report released yesterday November 18 during a Special General Meeting (SGM) for Muisuni Farmers’ Cooperative Society revealed that the board of management could not account for over Sh20 million in the 2015/16 financial year.

The society’s members, who numbered over 300, petitioned the county cooperatives office to swiftly move in and set up a caretaker committee pending fresh elections to put a new management committee in place. The highly charged meeting held on Friday at the society’s factory in the outskirts of Kangundo town ended acrimoniously after members demanded a ‘snap election’ to replace the sitting committee.

The members accused the management board of overstaying in office and engaging in dubious transactions that plunged the society in to debts running into millions of shillings. "We also want a lifestyle audit done on these officials to ascertain their sudden accumulation of wealth, which we believe is linked to the losses the factory had incurred," said one of the members.

Throughout the stormy meeting, area District Cooperatives Officer Richard Mulela, who also got his share of accusation for allegedly covering up the perceived culprits, remained tight-lipped as he watched the unfolding drama.

The cooperative sector, particularly in coffee farming has been hit by rampant cases of mismanagement and allegations of rampant corruption, which has led to poor uptake of the concept by many locals.

Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.





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