Civil Society Group Rally Against CS Chelugui’s Controversial KUSCCO Board Appointment

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

The Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Simon Chelugui has received a petition from the Consortium of Civil Societies in Kenya challenging the recent appointment of David Sohelo Mategwa as the acting board chairman of the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives.

The petition dated May 22, 2024, was copied to both the chairman and CEO of KUSCCO (Ref. 22/004CCK/2024) and signed by three petitioners, namely Peter Agoro, Zachary Mibei, and Robert Kiberenge. The three claim that Mr. Mategwa is not suitable to hold the position. Mategwa was appointed alongside four others as members of the caretaker committee after the board was disbanded following claims of corruption and financial malpractices, which led to a loss of Ksh. 5.5b.

The petitioners cited a case in which Mr Mategwa was appointed as a KUSCCO board member in 2019 but was removed after it was discovered that he did not have the academic qualifications to sit on the board. Aggrieved by the decision, he appealed to the Cooperatives Tribunals Appeals through appeal No. 344 of 2019 dated 6/6/2019, but he lost the appeal.

On May 23, 2019, the KUSCCO board chairman issued him a letter demanding his resignation from the board for failing to meet Section 29 of the KUSCCO bylaws, which outlines the criteria for membership eligibility. The petition reads, “It is on this basis that we have received a litany of complaints from KUSCCO members and staff who cannot act on their behalf for fear of victimisation that we demand the immediate resignation of Mr. Mategwa as the chairman of the caretaker committee, as they have no confidence in his leadership for lack of academic credentials.”.

The petitioners further claimed that Mr Mategwa had been expelled from KUSCCO as he was involved in a smear campaign against KUSCCO by hiring bloggers to malign the names of KUSCCO leadership. While making the appointment, the CS was quoted as promising that the board must deliver and restore public confidence in the operations of KUSCCO. The petitioners demanded that Mr Matagwa resign to pave the way for a man or woman of integrity to restore public confidence in KUSCCO.

The petition further reads, “We have the reasons to believe that he might have lied to you about his capacity to lead KUSCCO without disclosing that he was already expelled from the KUSCCO board for gross incompetence and lack of requisite academic qualification.”.

It is further revealed through the petition that the caretaker board is plotting to confirm Mr Munene as the substantive general managing director while he has no known financial background. It is also alleged that Munene has a fake degree certificate. The petitioners claim they are in the process of reporting the matter to EACC for investigation and action.