End of the Road for Nairobi Club?

Friday, September 20th, 2019 20:00 |
Nairobi Club. Photo/Courtesy

Derek Otieno

Debts, Mismanagement and Infighting among Board Members put the prestigious 120-year Old Club on its Death Bed Founded 120 years ago for senior railway and colonial employees, Nairobi Club has been the members’ club of choice for “who is who” in Kenya since then. 

It boasts of Opposition leader Raila Odinga, Chief Justice Daniel Maraga, top judges, lawyers, doctors and engineers as among its members.

But now the prestigious club is fighting for survival. A perfect storm of corruption, mismanagement, indiscipline and infighting threatens the survival of the 120-year-old club.Just this week, the club’s main bank account was been frozen over a Sh5 million debt, jeopardizing its operations.

A contractor, Top Choice Limited, won court orders freezing Nairobi Club’s bank accounts over the Sh5 million unsettled debt. The firm installed CCTV systems at the club at a cost of Shs 13 million but was yet to be paid in full, forcing it to move to court. 

Nairobi Club had paid Sh8 million but failed to pay the remaining Sh5 million.Top Choice Limited is just one of the many suppliers and contractors pursuing their payments from Nairobi Club.

The members club based in Nairobi’s Upperhill Area owes suppliers and contractors more than Sh80 million pending payments. 

According to documents in our possession, the club now faces a bleak and uncertain future.“The club is in debt to the tune of over Sh100 million,” whispered a board member of the club, who requested to remain anonymous.

nfighting among board members and has also run the club to its knees. According to our source, some board members engaged in unethical and corrupt dealings.

“Some board members have performed dismally and took over executive roles in contradiction to the Board Charter,” said the source.

“Several Board members developed self interest in their areas and completely took over executive management roles in total disregard to the Bye-laws and Board charter”. 

Five board members, out of nine elected members have resigned in a span of three months into office. Some of the resignation letters in our possession paint a very grim picture of the club.

"The decision of the board to accord itself executive powers, in my view, amounts to a secret coup against the membership of the club..." says Kering in his resignation letter.

He further states " one person cannot appoint the board chairman to take over as acting CEO. Even if the board was to make the decision, he or she has to switch roles from oversight to executive, step down.."

Another resigned member stated " main committee (board) is supposed to be oversight, supervisory and decision making. Implementation is the work of management" says Allen.

The board even fought for portfolios. Information has it that a doctor took the finance portfolio by force. A lawyer took HR and Procurement docket by force. These dockets are supposed to be appointed to board members of a profession similar to them.

The club Bye-laws states so. Information has it that some board members have even reinstated some of their friends and relatives who were earlier sacked or dismissed on theft and other discipline issues.

Inside source indicates that there is harassment of management staff who gave information to the forensic auditors. Some board members are said to have suspended them, later forced them to go on leave and carried out disciplinary hearing in total disregard to the board charter and labour laws.

Another problem is the jostling and fighting for the CEO’s position among in the club’s board.Said the source: “The position of the CEO has been generating vested interests and has resulted into many turnovers of CEO of the Club. No CEO lasts for one year.”

The CEO plays a very vital role of being firm and regularly reminding the Board of their oversight roles. The Board will not want to work with such a CEO. In the process of these selfish interests, the club has lost so much money to the tune of over Sh100 million.

The underhand dealings have remained unnoticed by some senior members of the club.“The majority of the Club Members have no information on these underhand dealings, said the source. “

They come, socialize and leave. To them the club is running smoothly. They also do not attend AGMs leaving it to few individuals who have mobilized their supporters to elect them.”

Just the other day, the club’s board is operating without a quorum after five of its eight members resigned in a span of three months. Members are highly concerned on the state of affairs in the club.

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