Details have emerged of how besieged televangelist “Dr” David Kariuki Ngare, alias Gakuyo, siphoned more than Sh1 billion belonging to 78,000 members, mostly peasants, of the troubled Ekeza Sacco.
Mr Kariuki is said to have used the money to upgrade his lifestyle by buying prime properties for his family and boosting his struggling real estate firm.
About Sh1.5 billion was unlawfully transferred to the accounts of Mr Kariuki’s Gakuyo Real Estate, where he is the managing director and his wife Hannah Wachu a co-director.
Some of the money was withdrawn using the sacco’s vice-chairman James Wanjuu and secretary Gladys Muriithi “for activities of Gakuyo Real Estate and its directors” under the preacher and politician’s instructions.
Only an estimated third of the money — Sh507,900,374 — could be traced to members who took out loans from Ekeza to acquire properties from Gakuyo Real Estate, meaning an estimated Sh1 billion went to the “Man of God” and his accomplices.
Though members of the management and supervisory committees were drawing salaries, they had abdicated their roles, leaving Mr Kariuki, who has been grappling with allegations of faking academic papers, to run down the sacco by using its money to finance his personal businesses.
A damning audit report by the government on the sacco’s operations has revealed that irregular cash outflows of an estimated Sh1.5 billion from Ekeza accounts to Gakuyo Real Estate, Mr Kariuki, Ms Muriithi, Mr Wanjuu and some law firms were made between 2015 and 2018.
About Sh1.419 billion was irregularly transferred from the sacco’s Equity Bank account, with Sh88,138,375 transferred in 2015; Sh850,463,877 in 2016; Sh454,097,630 in 2017; and Sh27,002,220 last year.
Whereas the policy stipulates that loans should be granted three times a member’s savings, staff members and officials were given loans without any criteria.