The rich reluctant to go for Sh8.53bn unclaimed assets

Wealthy Kenyans are shying away from claiming the Sh8.5 billion idle assets surrendered to the State, the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority has said.

The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority is struggling to re-unite the cash with their rightful owners or beneficiaries. FILE PHOTO | NMG 
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Wealthy Kenyans are shying away from claiming the Sh8.5 billion idle assets surrendered to the State, the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority has said.

The agency is struggling to re-unite the cash with their rightful owners or beneficiaries, claiming some are being turned off by the worth of assets under Treasury’s custody.

“We have informed many people to claim their hard-earned money but surprisingly, most are not doing so because the numbers mentioned appeared small to them,” chief executive Kellen Kariuki said.

The UFAA said the names of the owners and their last known addresses have also been published on the authority’s website to facilitate online enquiries.

Assets of wealthy prominent families are among those surrendered to the State as unclaimed property.

They include former presidents Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka, father of former US President Barack Obama and former Interior CS, the late Joseph Nkaisserry.

Wealthy individuals like Former Cabinet minister Maina Wanjigi, the father of controversial billionaire businessman Jimmy Wanjigi and a former Kamukunji MP, former Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae and Njenga Karume, a former Kiambu politician and billionaire businessman, feature prominently in the UFAA’s records.

Others are late James Gachuhi (one of the TransCentury founders), Matu Wamae, the New KCC chairman, and John Kibunga Kimani, whose portfolio at the Nairobi bourse stands at over Sh3 billion.

Unclaimed assets include money in bank accounts which have been dormant for more than five years, bankers cheques not cashed and contents in safe deposit boxes unclaimed for more than two years.

Others are life insurance policies unclaimed for more than two years and shares whose dividends have not been collected for more than three years.

Only claims fully supported by documents are paid out as stipulated under the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act 2011 and attendant regulations.

The agency is holding more than 1,000 safe boxes containing jewellery, share certificates, title deeds, and personal wills, among others.

The authority has listed the assets held in trust including cash (Sh5.7 billion) as at June last year, Sh1.5 billion dividends surrendered by listed firms, Sh711 million from insurance firms, pension (Sh22.4 million) and Sh456 million held in mobile money wallets like M-Pesa.

It has surrendered claims of less than Sh200 million so far since processing of claims started in early 2016.

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