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Unclaimed assets agency puts companies on notice

Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority chairman Vincent Kimosop at a recent function in Nairobi. Photo/FILE
Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority chairman Vincent Kimosop at a recent function in Nairobi. He told Nation that the authority is not under obligation to communicate with banks through the Kenya Bankers Association. Photo/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) is set to start collection and remittance of unclaimed assets, following the appointment of interim officials to run its affairs.

The authority was set up in 2012 under the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act (2011) to collect and remit the financial assets, estimated at over Sh200 billion.

UFAA chairman Vincent Kimosop told the Business Daily Thursday that the authority received its budgetary allocation for this financial year, which has enabled it to start operations.

“We already have some notifications from financial institutions on the unclaimed assets, and they are also seeking direction on how and when they can remit these assets in their holding. This year we expect to have transfer of the monies from the institutions, as well as remittance of the same to the rightful owners,” said Mr Kimosop.

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Assets that fall under the unclaimed assets category include cash accounts which have been dormant for over five years, bankers cheques not cashed in for two years and contents in safe deposit boxes that have been unclaimed for more than two years.

Other assets include matured life insurance policies unclaimed for more than two years and shares whose dividend has gone for more than three years without being collected.

However, the Act does not mention the mobile financial services which have become a major transaction channel in the country, though Safaricom has since pointed out that monies in M-Pesa accounts of deceased account holders can be claimed by their estate on providing proof of death and an administration letter.

The Kenya National Assurance Company (Knac) announced to its claimants in July 2013 that it would remit Sh400 million of policyholders’ cash to the authority by the end of the year, though Mr Kimosop did not confirm that it has actually moved to do so.

Mr Kimosop also confirmed that the authority is still in the process of hiring a substantive chief executive as per the requirements of the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act, though he did not give a date when the hiring will be completed.

He said that Treasury has in the meantime seconded Mr George Omino, from its Macro-finance division, to act in the capacity of chief executive.

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