NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 4 – Nearly half a million companies and institutions in Kenya are still holding billions of shillings that need to be reunited with the rightful owners.
This is according to the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) who say the unclaimed asset holders who include banks, saccos, pension schemes, utility firms are holding more than Sh241billion.
UFAA’s CEO John Mwangi says the holders have only reported and submitted Sh13.1 billion in cash and 564 million unit of share to the Authority to date.
The Authority receives unclaimed assets and holds them in a Trust Fund. Only when a claim is lodged with verifiable proof showing valid relationship with the rightful owner that the monies are then paid to claimants.
“We have more than 447,000 institutions who are still holding on assets that belong to thousands of families who may not know that they have assets they need to claim. They need to know that these assets belong to people out there,” said Mwangi.
Mwangi observed that non-compliance will be met by stiffer penalties as provided by the law.
The unclaimed financial assets Act, 2011 stipulates that failure to remit the unclaimed assets attracts a fine of not less than Sh1Million and/or a one-year jail term for non-compliant CEOs upon conviction.
The Authority is currently holding unclaimed cash valued at Sh13.1 billion, 1451 safe deposit boxes and Sh564 million units of shares made up of unclaimed dividends, shares, wages, dormant bank accounts, gift vouchers and life insurance policies.
People wishing to find any unclaimed assets either belonging to them or family members are encouraged to check whether they are listed on the UFAA or by using a short code SMS *361#.
For the past five years, only 7,000 claimants have lodged their claims with the authority paying out more than Sh421million in cash. Also paid are claims for shares estimated to be 1.3million units.