Police said on Monday they have summoned a self imposed chairman of Kitengela Tuk Tuk Sacco after claims he is charging vehicle owners Sh80, 000 to operate.
James Kuria is wanted by police to produce papers of associations to prove if the Sacco he claims to oversee is registered by the government.
After Kuria was summoned by Kitengela police on Friday last week to appear before the area deputy OCS, Joseph Koskei, the man is said to have gone under.
Claims are rife in Kitengela that Kuria could be a member of the outlawed Mungiki sect, but when we confronted him with the claim he vehemently said he is a Christian.
Koskei said on Monday; “We have summoned him to appear before us, and explain to us under what circumstances he collects a non-refundable membership payment of Sh80, 000 from each of the more than 123 operators in Kitengela.”
Tuk Tuk operators in Kitengela claimed the money collected by Kuria from each entrant to the transport sector goes to a personal account.
They appealed to the government to investigate Kuria, who has since been linked to the outlawed Mungiki sect in the area.
It is claimed that some of the remnant members of the sect have slowly infiltrated the transport sector, and some have moved to the estates where they charge certain amounts of ‘protection’ money from those in construction business.
“When one buys his own Tuk Tuk and wants to start transport business, Kuria is on the lookout for new entrants. He forces them to pay the Sh80, 000 for ‘lifetime membership’, and if you buy another, he charges the same amount,” said a member who has three Tuk Tuk vehicles in operation in Kitengela town.
Even after the Star unveiled the operations of the gang, police kept mum until last week when one of the officers at Kitengela police station had his TUk Tuk impounded by the gang members is when the OCS decided to take action.
When we spoke to Kitengela Tuk Tuk Operators Sacco chairman, Kuria, earlier he confirmed that new members are charged a non-refundable Sh80, 000 as registration before they are allowed on the roads.
“This is just a small token to enable our office to operate. Once one has paid the amount, they are required to pay Sh600 monthly as long as they are operating in Kitengela. We put that money into investments and at the end of each year, we discuss what members would wish to do with their money,” said Kuria.
But even as Kuria was painting his association as an investment opportunity for Tuk Tuk operators, several of them interviewed claimed Kuria is lying.
Kuria had earlier claimed the Sh600 being paid by members every month is not compulsory.
“Those who want to join our Sacco, do so voluntarily and they get their shares when profits are realised. It is not necessary that you make profits every year,” added the chairman.
“That is a big lie; we do not get anything out of that compulsory contribution. We have never heard of any annual general meeting that has been called,” said one operator.
It has also come out clear that each Tuk Tuk owner is charged Sh50 every day at the end of business as daily upkeep of the chairman.
This translates to Sh6, 150 every day. The money is meant for the chairman’s airtime and lunch, and is compulsory.
Any operator breaking the rule is fined a double of the amount, and failure to that his Tuk Tuk is ‘impounded’ and detained until one has paid all that is due for the chairman.
So far, the chairman has at least collected a total of Sh9.8 million from the 123 Tuk Tuks operating in Kitengela after the rule was effected in December last year through an annual general meeting, according to the chairman.
But the members are insisting there has not been any annual general meeting for the members.