DCI unearth huge mess at a sinking Bandari Sacco

Bandari Sacco

In a typical Kenyan corruption protection, Bandari Sacco, chaired by Ken Sungu, a brother to former Kisumu MP Gor Sungu, a very close relation of Oburu Odinga (in-law) and by extension ODM leader Raila Odinga, the Sacco seems to enjoy a lot from the current political setup in the country

By Our Investigative Team

Just as Bandari Sacco was celebrating a partnership with a commercial bank in the country, a story of perfidy, fraud, and poor management emerged. The Sacco, according to multiple members, is a basket case, a fraud and an eyesore of a financial institution. A shameful act of theft, mismanagement and conduit to enrich a cabal of players in a cartel running a members’ society.

Behind the glossy picture of a well-run, properly managed institution is a case of arm twisting, threat and hubris from the senior management of the organization. It is a case of political protection, underhand dealing and bribing police and anti-fraud investigators. A case of ‘you can do what you want’.

Mr Ken Sungu

Accusations and counter-accusations flew as three officials of Bandari Savings and Credit Cooperative Society on Thursday recorded statements with the police over the theft of more than Sh5 million through fraudulent withdrawals.

 In a typical Kenyan corruption protection, Bandari Sacco, chaired by Ken Sungu, a brother to former Kisumu MP Gor Sungu, a very close relation of Oburu Odinga (in-law) and by extension ODM leader Raila Odinga, the Sacco seems to enjoy a lot from the current political setup in the country. Sungu, a vocal MP fell on his own sword after he instigated the investigation on the death of former Kisumu Rural MP and Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko Seda, only for the whole episode to boomerang on him, a matter was not taken lightly by residents of the his constituency, leading to the unceremonious exit from parliament after the 2007 General Elections.

It turned out that he was a close confidant of the murdered minister and he was playing cover-up for some murderous forces when he raised the matter in parliament after the 2002 General Elections that swept Mwai Kibaki to power. Rumours had it that he pocketed a tidy amount from some of the suspects. The beleaguered brother faces the same fate at the Sacco whose majority are 17,000 employees of the giant Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). He is a hunted and haunted man as reality catches up with him.

CEO Joseph Bee Otieno

Last week, a file on a suspected investment initiated by the Sacco landed a few officials of the Sacco at the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) with CEO Joseph Bee Otieno, an arrogant soul among those called for questioning after a member lodged a complaint. But, the whole episode does not end with the questioning. Several officials have changed their telephone numbers several times including the chairman to avoid DCI sleuths who have been circling awaiting arrest.

On the other hand, members of the Sacco are up in arms baying for the blood of the officials they accuse of many things that are not limited to the running of the institution. Information availed to us indicate that Sungu, his vice Johnson Kegoi and treasurer Lorna Riasi have gone missing in the recent past with telephone enquiries going unanswered.

Further information from our moles at Bandari Sacco indicate that the officials failed to show up in court after summons by Lady Justice Olga Sewe last month. According to our sources, a member John Oucho lodged a petition in the High Court accusing the officials of stealing from the Sacco and various allegations including fraudulent activities.

Mr Joseph Kegoi

In the long petition, Oucho accuses the officials of using an ongoing construction as an avenue of theft. The ongoing construction of a perimeter wall has invited scrutiny which has in turn raised questions over the source of the funding, something that DCI is investigating. “Respondent Bandari Sacco is in the process of acquiring and putting up a wall on a parcel of land comprising plot No817 on the pretext of investing shareholders money and they had engaged a claim of contractors for the same piece of work,” the petitioner says.

He alleges the decision by the officials was unfair, unilateral and without any consideration from the members, whose input should be key in such investments. On the other hand, the DCI is investigating claims over how the officials acquired the funds for the building, something that has been put at Sh208 million.

A major cover-up is currently ongoing and several members of the press have been approached to ‘manage’ the matter, with a leading PR agency owned by a respected journalist attached, though the senior scribe denied any involvement in the matter last week.

“It is unfair that you are calling me on the matter. I don’t know Sungu or whoever. I am only chasing a story by one of our reporters. I needed clarification on a few things, but the chairman and his CEO have refused to answer back. Kindly, get the right information from them. I was only chasing a story. On the matter of PR, I am not involved, I don’t know the people. They are not my clients. Leave me out of that mess,” the senior journalist said.

A senior official claimed that unknown people broke into the offices overnight and it was not clear whether they were looking for some documents or equipment. Bandari Sacco has more than 17,000 members and an investment capital base of over Sh6 billion. On Thursday, a section of members accused the officials of purporting to be their representatives yet they had imposed themselves with the sole aim of covering up their fraudulent deals.

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