The proposed purchase of a local bank by Lake Region Bloc Counties set to drain County resources

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Governors from the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB)
Governors from the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) in a past meeting

TMwalimu National Sacco, the teachers’ savings Sacco in 2015 dished out Kshs. 2.4 billion to purchase a 75% stake, shareholding in Equatorial Commercial Bank since rebranded to Spire Bank.

Naushad Merali was the majority shareholder of Equatorial Bank and was the key beneficiary of that acquisition of his bank by Mwalimu National Sacco. By 2018 the now majority owned by Mwalimu National Sacco, Spire Bank reported having soaked in losses of more than Kshs. 2 billion since 2015.  Mwalimu National Sacco’s value of ownership that was Kshs. 2 billion in 2015 is now a paltry Kshs. 413 million. Talk of looting teachers in broad daylight by economic crooks conniving with the then officials of the Sacco.

The Counties of the Lake Region Economic Bloc are scheming to use taxpayer monies to acquire a majority stake in the Simeon Nyachae–Swan Company in Kisumu, Asian family owned Credit Bank Ltd and rebrand it to whatever fancy name they will settle on. Corruption will be a factor in the ill-conceived adventure of County Governments to dabble in business when there is no constitutional basis for them to do so.  Make no mistake corruption will inform the proposed purchase of equity in the local bank.  How in the face of the miserable collapse of Mumias Sugar Co. Ltd,  Nzoia Sugar Company,  East Africa Portland Cement to name just a few on state corporations owned and managed by the National Government can any sane person strut around evangelizing that County Governments should own a bank, indulge in business? What an uneducated way to waste, plunder public resources.

County Governments that cannot organize, mobilize, and utilize the existing co-operative institutions, Saccos to be the avenues of providing credit to their citizens have no basis jumping into banking which is even more sophisticated and highly regulated.  In any event, the banking business at retail level in Kenya has now been totally taken over by Safaricom’s M-Pesa and therefore which banking will the Lake Region Economic Block proposed Bank be doing?  That bank will be a non-starter doomed to fail from the first day and is a white elephant project for governors inflated egos of wasting public resources.

It is a pity that the County Assemblies of the Counties of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga that ought to have resolutely refused to sanction the ill-conceived doomed to fail Lake Region Economic Block Bank have been literally bribed and hoodwinked by the Governors of the region to rubber stamp the white elephant project that will only be a conduit for corruption and a non-starter through and through.

And are the Senators of the Counties of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga, Trans Nzoia County accomplices in these ill-conceived unsustainable project? Which part of the functions of County Governments set out at the 4th schedule of the Constitution is this project being executed under? We submit none exists.  Where is the National Treasury, the Controller of Budget and the Auditor General as this circus aimed to facilitate looting of County resources is being orchestrated and put in place? Can’t they see the perilousness, unsustainability of the whole project that will benefit wheel dealers in putting the transaction together and lead to colossal loss of public funds in corruption, plunder, yes, the epitome of white collar crime?

This economic block stinks of economic imperialism by Luo Nyanza and history will convict the Governors of former Western Province of economic treason in the not distant future for being hoodwinked or knowingly participating in the imposition of economic chains of imperialism over its people and their resources.  Western is being reclaimed to Luo Nyanza the way white imperialists did so over 100 years ago with the Mombasa-Nairobi-Kisumu railway.

Where are the intelligentsia of the former Western Province to speak out, to challenge the now imminent waste of the County resources of the region in a white elephant project destined to fail and put chains of imperialism to the economies of the Counties of the region?