A new wave of frustrations has hit a section of members of Urithi Housing Cooperative Society over the slow pace or delays in project completion.
In March this year, investors at the sacco’s Osteen Terrace Garden raised alarm over delays to hand them the housing units which they had paid for, forcing the society to run a series of awareness campaigns for their members.
Members complained that the OTG project had stalled despite the fact that they had paid up to 80% of the total value of the houses. The project had attracted more than 300 members, majority of whom raised a red flag.
Further anxiety has been raised around the Green Zone project at Thindigua on Kiambu Road, which is supposed to be completed by the end of 2019; some members saying they are not sure the houses will be delivered on time.
Following the outcry by OTG members, the management had maintained the project was well within the course of its completion period and assured the investors the construction would resume within a few weeks.
“There were issues around the 2017 elections which affected progress at the OTG but we are now on course to resume works and we assure our members that the project would be delivered on time,” CEO Julius Macharia then said.
However, almost six months later and some members have come out to complain, saying they are yet to see any tangible progress at the site; with another section of members, who had bought land through the sacco complaining they had not been shown their actual plots despite being issued with title deeds.
“I bought land and was given the title three or four years ago but every time I have tried to insist on being shown my actual piece from the project I get excuses or they say they would in touch but nothing has happened,” said one member.
“We are getting worried, especially when you consider what we read and hear in the news about how saccos are collapsing with people’s money. I do not want to end up like those people who are left to chase after the Ekeza sacco owners who disappeared with investors money.”
While Urithi maintains their model is unique and it is clean, members’ complaints, however, pour cold water on their whole concept, especially at a time when the government is in the process of reigning in on ‘rogue’ saccos.
Established in 2012 and with a membership of more than 20,000 Kenyans, Urithi is also currently selling land in Juja, dubbed Jabari Gardens, Mountain View in Naivash as well as Olive Pride Villas (Kitengela) and have successfully handed over housing units at Juja Plainsview, among others.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, during the 97th International Co-operative Day at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in July, said the government will increase policy interventions to fix loopholes in the sector.
“I direct the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives to fast-track the formulation of the National Co-operative Policy and immediately operationalise the proposed Sacco Societies Fraud Investigation Unit (SSFIU) within the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA),” said the President.
Restructuring SASRA is one of the recommendations in the proposed National Co-operative Development Policy, which is currently being considered by Cabinet.
A source at SASRA has confidentially told Kurunzi Urithi Sacco is one of those under the spotlight for how they handle members’ money and is under investigations.
Although Kenya’s cooperative movement is ranked high in Africa and is one of the best globally due to its asset base, poor financial management, leadership and governance have doomed a number of the cooperatives to failure.
Urithi now risks being listed among saccos on the red such as Metropolitan Sacco.
Nitunze Sacco and Ekeza, among others have gone under, sinking the lifeline of thousands of their members.