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Absa holds bulk of unclaimed jewellery, titles

John Mwangi
Ufaa chief executive John Mwangi: We don’t know the contents of the safe boxes. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU 

Absa Bank is holding the bulk of unclaimed assets, including jewellery, title deeds, share certificates and Treasury bills, documents tabled in Parliament show.

A report by the Unclaimed Assets Trust Fund shows that the lender held 854 or 88.8 percent of all safe deposit boxes that were unclaimed as of June 2017.

The report shows that a total of 962 safe deposit boxes were declared unclaimed by six lenders to the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) that manages the Unclaimed Assets Trust Fund.

Ufaa in its financial statements tabled before the National Assembly’s Special Funds Accounts Committee (SFAC) says Standard Chartered Bank #ticker:SCBK reported 80 unclaimed safe deposit boxes. Guardian Bank declared 15 while Habib AG Zurich reported eight boxes.

Guaranty Trust Bank reported to UFAA three unclaimed safe deposit boxes while Eco Bank had two.

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“The contents of the safe deposits are not known since these have not been opened,” John Mwangi, the UFAA chief executive told MPs.

It is public knowledge that wealthy families store precious jewellery, share certificates, Treasury bills, company certificates and personal documents such as land title deeds, security certificates, and share certificates in banks.

Mr Mwangi disclosed that UFAA has no capacity to store the 962 bank safe deposit boxes that financial institutions have reported as unclaimed.

The value of unclaimed assets in cash stood at Sh8.5 billion while value of shares were Sh16.43 billion by end of June 2017.

Last month, the Ufaa told the committee chaired by South Imenti MP Kathuri Murungi that the authority has since paid the first batch of 400 claims amounting to Sh34 million.

Mr Mwangi disclosed that Ufaa has no capacity to store the 962 bank safe deposit boxes that financial institutions have reported as unclaimed.

“These boxes have been reported to us by financial institutions but we have not received the 962 safe boxes. “We do not have strong room to store them but we have asked the financial institutions to keep the boxes under our orders,” Mr Mwangi said.

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