Microfinance goes bust, clients up in arms

GASABO - Clients of Cooperative des Travalleurs (CT), a credit and saving scheme yesterday stormed its Remera offices demanding their deposits following financial woes that have marred the microfinance institution of recent.
Client of CT Credit and Saving Scheme Remera branch stranded at the counters yesterday. (Photo/  G.Barya).
Client of CT Credit and Saving Scheme Remera branch stranded at the counters yesterday. (Photo/ G.Barya).

GASABO - Clients of Cooperative des Travalleurs (CT), a credit and saving scheme yesterday stormed its Remera offices demanding their deposits following financial woes that have marred the microfinance institution of recent.

It is alleged that the microfinance institution suffered financial constraints at a time it was trying to acquire a legal status and has since then it ceased to carry out routine operations.

Over 300 stranded clients have threatened to stay at the offices, some saying that the branch, despite being open, has not been carrying out normal operations for three weeks.

“I came expecting to receive my salary but there is nothing being done…all we hear are speculations that CT has run out of cash and no one has come to offer explanations,” Piyo Miragano a teacher at Gahanga Primary School who banks with the microfinance said.

Another angry client, a driver who claims to have been sacked from his job for absconding from duty attributed his fate to the microfinance’s failure to give him access to his salary.

“I can’t leave this office until these bank officials explain what has happened. What I need is my money,” Alphonse Nkuranga complained. He said that he has spent a whole week lining up at the bank but in vain, which he said made him loose his job.

Efforts to speak to the branch’s officials were futile because they locked themselves in their offices and unwilling to speak when The New Times arrived on the spot.

“We are still busy; by the way we are not working. Let me call the manager to speak to you,” an unidentified staff said before hurriedly locking the door and disappearing.

The clients on strike, many of them primary school teachers, have threatened to block the bank’s staff members from coming out before something is done to solve their problem.

In a telephone interview, the Governor of the Central Bank, Francois Kanimba disclosed that CT branches countrywide have been facing financial constraints but said that this particular one was affected the most.

“That workers’ cooperative has been facing problems of clients failing to service their loans and it was robbed a big sum of money totalling Rwf70 million. They don’t even seem to keep proper book-keeping,” Kanimba revealed.  

He added that microfinance organisations all over the country have been experiencing a lot of problems including the embezzlement and mismanagement almost in all provinces.

He gave an example of one in Nyagatare where the manager is said to have run away with Rwf 30 millions and branch manager in Gisenyi who is in court for pocketing Rwf 19 millions.

The Gisenyi (Western Province) manager, despite having been brought before court, has not yet refunded the money he swindled.

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