Victims of Gakuyo still waiting for a way out
The month of february 2019 will remain to be a painful memory for most of the Kenyans who had invested in the troubled Ekeza Sacco ,Gakuyo investment club and the Gakuyo real estate.
This was after their investment had sunk into the private accounts of Rev Ngari, the CEO of the Gakuyo real estate and that of his wife Hannah Wachu. The two were said to be working in the same company, Hannah Wachu being the co-director of the company.
One of the victims of this saga is Mr. James Mwangi, a resident of Nairobi.“After three years of hard work, it was time for me to start saving as my wife was 2 months pregnant. I wanted to be as prepared as possible since a child comes with a lot of responsibilities. I decided to tell my mother, who happens to be very educated on some of the saccos I could use to save my money. Although she had a lot of saccos in mind, I decided to settle on Ekeza sacco. I would later discover that was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made’’. Mr. Mwangi said.
“ In a span of 7 months , I had already saved into the sacco ksh 350,000. As any man with this amount of money would be, I was ready to welcome my first baby into the world’’.
Mr Mwangi was keen to note that he suspected all was not well after his first attempt to withdraw a portion of the money from the sacco. “When I went to withdraw some of the money from my account, the customer care from the sacco asked me to provide evidence that I had saved money into the sacco. Fair enough, I provided the receipts that had been issued to me after every deposit I made into my account. She then told me to go home and come back the following day to withdraw the money. As the polite and patient man I am, I agreed and went home, hoping to access my money the following day’’.
“On the following day,9 oclock met at the same place, only that there was a different customer care person serving me. I remember her telling me that I could not withdraw the money as promised. She then added that they were experiencing some technical issues but it would be resolved in a matter of a few days. This was a red flag to me’’.
After two weeks of unsuccessful money withdrawal attempts from the sacco, Mwangi then received news of what had transpired in the company. “ I could not eat for days thinking of the lost money and how my daughter would be welcomed by her daddys’ empty hands. I decided not to tell my wife due to her condition, hoping that things would be soon resolved. This was just but wishes. Months down the line and no serious actions have been taken apart from the DCI requesting us to record statements at the Criminal Investigations headquarters located on the Kiambu road’’.
Mr Mwangi is just but one of the hundreds of Kenyans who are victims of the Gakuyo woes. Sources reveal that a total of 1.5 billion had gone missing from the company, all being transferred into private accounts of the CEO as mentioned earlier in this article.
The government through the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i responded to the victims assuring them that their money would not be lost. He said that the government’s hard action would take place making sure no one lost money to the Gakuyo saga.
Months have now turned to a year ,still waiting to see the government’s hard action at work.
After consistent and peaceful demonstrations by the Gakuyo real estate victims, Rev Ngari then went to the court, safe from the angry demonstrators throughout the proceedings. It was then discovered that the Rev used a total of Ksh 99 million to purchase a house worth ksh 200 million in gigiri,Nyari estate which initially belonged to the former senator of Machakos Johnson Muthama. He then used Ksh 128 million to purchase land for Gakuyo real estate at Mavoko town and Mitubiri/Wempa in Muranga, whose total cost price was Ksh 328 million.
After Rev Ngari was done with the court proceedings, he was set free to go home,leaving questions on the efficiency of the government. This was even after hundreds of the victims presented their evidence on the case and recording statements at the Mangira House headquarters.
In May the year 2019, the government allowed the company to resume its full operations, betraying the victims of the Gakuyo saga. This was followed with strict monitoring of all of its activities including financial transactions by the government.
During an interview with the press, Rev Ngari said that he has plans to refund money to all the Gakuyo investment members. He supported this by saying he would sell some of his assets to fund money which will be used to refund members in five phases. Phase one includes all those gakuyu owed less than Ksh 5000 followed by those he owed upto ksh20,000 as phase two. Phase three would include those who had invested upto Ksh 50,000 followed by phase four who had invested upto Ksh 200,000. The rest would fall in the final phase which is phase five.
The whole process is expected to take upto 2 years.
As these are just promises, some of the victims have taken the initiative to create groups specifically for the victims of the Gakuyo saga. The groups are dedicated to follow up on the progress of getting their money back. One of his groups is led by Mark Muriithi,who is determined to see that the hard work of the victims does not go in vain.