IDLE CASH

Firms sitting on more than Sh241 billion of unclaimed assets - UFAA

For the past five years, only 7,000 claimants have lodged their claims with the authority paying out more than Sh421 million in cash

In Summary
  • 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.
UFAA chief executive John Mwangi
UNCLAIMED WEALTH: UFAA chief executive John Mwangi
Image: COURTESY

Nearly half a million companies and institutions are still holding nearly Sh241 billion that need to be reunited with the rightful owners, unclaimed assets agency has revealed..

In a media statement yesterday, the Unclaimed Assets Authority chief executive John Mwangi said holders have only reported and submitted Sh13.1 billion in cash, 1451 safe deposit boxes and 564 million unit of share to the Authority to date.

“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,” Mwangi said.

Mwangi warned 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 Sh1 Million and/or a one-year jail term for non-compliant CEOs upon conviction.

Non-remittance of cash and annual status reports attracts a penalty of 25 per cent of the unremitted funds while failure to deliver attracts a penalty of one per cent above the prime rate per month per annum.

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.

UFAA has in the past raised concern over Kenyans’ disinterest in pursuing funds legally belonging to their families. The money is largely held by insurance companies, banks, pension schemes, legal firms, mobile phone money wallets and saccos among others.

He urged people wishing to find any unclaimed assets either belonging to them or family members to check whether they are listed on the UFAA website 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 Sh421 million in cash. Also paid are claims for shares estimated to be 1.3million units.