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Unclaimed assets now hit Sh25bn

UFAA chief executive Kellen Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG
UFAA chief executive Kellen Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Unclaimed cash and securities surrendered to a State agency have hit Sh25.9 billion as managers of non-compliant firms face heavy penalties and jail terms.

While the agency is now holding a large haul of cash, most of the surrendered assets are by publicly traded firms.

Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) chief executive Kellen Kariuki said by September 30, it had received Sh8.311 billion cash denominated in local currency, Sh241.2 million in US dollars and another Sh200 million in other currencies, bringing the total amount held in trust to Sh8.75 billion.

Ms Kariuki said brokerages at the Nairobi Securities Exchange had also forwarded 241.3 million shares of different listed firms worth Sh16.42 billion.

“We have paid out Sh56.5 million in verified claims and are processing fresh claims amounting to Sh161.16 million,” she said.

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.

Tuesday, UFAA said it will relentlessly pursue firms and individuals withholding unclaimed funds saying firms that failed to meet the October 31 deadline will be denied licence to operate come 2018.

Ms Kariuki said the agency had signed several MoUs with regulatory agencies making it mandatory for private firms seeking renewal of their operating licences for 2018 to seek clearance from UFAA before processing of renewal applications.

UFAA said any chief executive and company owner who fails to heed the deadline risks being jailed and paying hefty fines.

“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,” said the notice.

“Failure to submit the annual report will attract a Sh50,000 penalty per day after expiry of the October 31 deadline.”

Individual firms, including State agencies handling unclaimed funds, must prepare an annual status report for the period ended June 30, 2017 from June 30 last year. The cash is held at CBK.

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