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Top Citi official to bag job as unclaimed assets CEO

Kellen Kariuki, chief executive of the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority.
Kellen Kariuki, chief executive of the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Citi Bank executive Kellen Kariuki is set to be unveiled as chief executive of the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority, persons familiar with its operation reported on Thursday.

Ms Kariuki is currently senior human resource business partner for Middle East, Pakistan and Africa at Citi Bank.

The reliable sources at the authority told the Business Daily that the board was in the process of agreeing on terms of service with Ms Kariuki.

Efforts to speak to authority chairman Vincent Kimosop were unsuccessful as our calls went unanswered. Ms Kariuki will be the first chief executive of the authority formed in 2013 which became operational last year.

The law gives the board power to appoint the CEO “who shall hold office on such terms and conditions of service as may be specified in the instrument of appointment,” reads part of the Act.

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The authority is charged with holding in trust all assets which have not been claimed by their owners over a defined period of time, for example cash held in banks for a period exceeding five years without any activity initiated by the owner.

In the first year of operation, the authority received Sh930 million from six banks and an insurer, underlining the huge sums that are likely to fall under its control. It is estimated that the country has over Sh50 billion worth of idle assets.

Ms Kariuki holds a degree in Accounting, a Master’s in business administration in Strategic Management from United States International University and a Master’s in science in International Human Resource Management from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

She has worked with Citi Bank for over 20 years, rising to senior positions in finance; as chief financial officer, and human resource. She sits on the board of Resolution Health and has served as a council member at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya.

She will be charged with the daily running of the authority which has to search for beneficiaries of unclaimed assets while investing any sum whose owners or heirs are not traceable.

Ms Kariuki beat competition from the current CEO of Sacco Supervision Regulatory Authority (Sasra) Carilus Ademba and a Mbatha Mbithi.

Recruitment of the authority’s executive officer had started raising a storm following claims of biased ethnic composition which had been tabled in parliament. The board however dismissed the claims noting that it was still in the process of setting up the institution.

Appointment of the chief executive is expected to hasten the authority’s execution of its mandate by demanding full submission of unclaimed assets from institutions holding them. Institutions said to hold the bulk of the assets include banks, insurers and pension funds.

Standard Chartered has surrendered the highest amount of Sh537 million followed by Kenya National Assurance which submitted Sh300 million. Others are Victoria Commercial Bank, Fidelity and United Bank of Africa.

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