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Kenya revives coop tribunal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12- The government has assured that good corporate governance in the cooperative movement is being enhanced as one way of restoring confidence in the sector.

Cooperative Development Minister Joe Nyaga disclosed on Monday that the Cooperative Tribunal had been revived, thereby reducing the number of cases being referred to the High Court.

“Where we have caught people messing around, they have been dealt with very quickly. We now have a growing little High court similar to an industrial court and headed by a man equivalent to a judge and which is addressing these issues in the movement,” the minister said.

He said the ministry was being restructured to reinforce its internal control systems and help address the challenges in industry.

This involves the strengthening of its audit systems and its little-known Governance Ethics Commission which will be charged with investigating corruption cases in the movement.

“We have our own in-house anticorruption authority and which has been quietly active. We are getting more resources from the government and donors to strengthen it and ensure that the funny things that happen in Kenya are reduced to a minimum,” he said in reference to the scandals that have rocked the sector.

Millions of people believed to be in the cooperative movement have lost billions of shillings to fraudsters in the “get-rich quick” schemes which had mushroomed across the country particularly between 2006 and 2007.

Such cases have been rampant in the industry and have resulted in the loss of approximately Sh35 billion in the pyramid schemes which had initially been registered as self-help groups, savings and credit cooperatives or companies but immediately reverted to pyramid-related activities.

Mr Nyaga spoke during a media briefing ahead of the 9th African Ministerial Cooperative Conference that will be held in Nairobi between October 22 and October 24.

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Over 500 delegates from 31 African countries will converge for the meeting which will among other things provide a forum for ministers for cooperative development in the continent to review progress in the movement’s performance and chart the way forward.

Also on the sidelines of the meeting under the theme “Driving African Social and Economic Recovery through Innovative Cooperative Enterprise” will be an exhibition which will showcase products in the sector.

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