State to connect families with Sh250bn in unclaimed assets

Matiang’i says hundreds of families could be suffering, yet they have millions of shillings lying idle in different institutions

In Summary

• Regional coordinators and county commissioners tasked to trace the next of kin.

• Government launches the Rapid Response Initiative to connect Kenyans with their unclaimed cash.

If you are entitled to part of the Sh250 billion unclaimed assets lying idle in different institutions, then you are the person the government is looking for.

Yesterday, the government, through Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, raised the alarm that hundreds of families could be suffering, yet they have millions of shillings lying idle somewhere in money left behind by their dead relatives.

Matiang’i said the government has launched a Rapid Response Initiative to connect Kenyans with their unclaimed cash. He spoke at the Kenya School of Government, Nairobi.

The CS said all regional coordinators, assisted by county commissioners, have been tasked to trace the families.

“It is the first time this is going to happen in Kenya since Independence, helping our people get their wealth that they have never accessed due to various reasons,” he said.

Sh250 billion financial assets are unclaimed in private and public institutions across the country.

“It is my pleasure to join you here as we launch the RRI aimed at identifying owners of unclaimed financial assets and ultimately reuniting them with these monies in a collaborative effort between the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government,” CS Matiang’i said.

He urged the administrators to assist and facilitate residents of their regions and counties to access their resources.

“This is also an opportunity that we need to use to help our people know how to manage their own resources. I encourage the commissioners that as they interact with the public, they need to socialise with them on sharing with their families on their wealth.”

He termed it painful for families to languish in poverty just because children, spouses, or other next of kin cannot access wealth left behind by a deceased member.

“Some people are languishing in poverty while they have resources. Let’s salvage families from poverty.”

The CS urged Kenyans to trust their families and inform them of their wealth. He, however, blamed the problem on existing succession laws.

“Some of the succession laws were developed during the colonial era, making succession process difficult,” he said.

He said that with such archaic laws in place, families take years to get what is legitimately due to them. The government must, therefore, do all it can to reduce their pain, he said.

Matiang’i urged the commissioners to go beyond public expectations and ensure they assist in linking Kenyans with their unclaimed assets.

The government has given itself 50 days within which it expects a significant increase in the number of owners coming out to claim their assets.

UFAA chairman Richard Kiplagat said the amount of unclaimed assets in their custody is in excess Sh13 billion cash and Sh567 million unit shares.

He revealed that only about 7,000 owners have come out to lodge claims, leading to the disbursement of a paltry Sh400 million since the authority was established five years ago.

(Edited by F'Orieny)