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Agency puts companies on notice over releasing unclaimed assets

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UFAA chief executive officer John Mwangi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Public and private entities have until October 31 to surrender billions of shillings and securities that have remained unclaimed for more than two years.
  • In a public notice, the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) said failure to adhere to the notice will attract severe penalties, with chief executives and company secretaries of the errant institutions held criminally and civilly liable for non-remission.

Public and private entities have until October 31 to surrender billions of shillings and securities that have remained unclaimed for more than two years.

In a public notice, the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) said failure to adhere to the notice will attract severe penalties, with chief executives and company secretaries of the errant institutions held criminally and civilly liable for non-remission.

“Under Ufaa Act section 33, senior company executives or owners who fail to declare and report unclaimed assets risks a Sh7,000 daily and not more than Sh50,000 for each day the report is withheld effective on January 1 on the subsequent year,” said Ufaa chief executive John Mwangi.

“A person who wilfully fails to surrender the unclaimed assets to Ufaa is liable to a penalty equal to 25 percent of the value of the unclaimed assets,” said Mr Mwangi.

The authority, which reported holding Sh16.7 billion in cash, 1,592 safe deposit boxes, more than 800 million shares worth Sh23 billion and assorted unit trusts, said it expects to receive unclaimed assets “traversing the entire regime of cash in a bank, dividends, shares, insurance policies, money order and court refunds.”

The notice comes hardly a month after Ufaa started on-boarding the 800 million unclaimed shares currently held by share custodians to its licensed non-trading central depository agency that is used to facilitate management, reception and re-uniting shares with their owners.

Ufaa has since signed several pacts with regulatory agencies in various sectors making it mandatory for every entity seeking to renew their licences to seek Ufaa clearance before submitting their application and payment for their annual licences.