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Unclaimed assets agency opens Sh6bn payout after House passes guidelines

 Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority CEO Kellen Kariuki. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority CEO Kellen Kariuki. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Kenyans can now start withdrawing billions held by the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) following Parliament’s passage of regulations guiding the payout.

UFAA has received over Sh6 billion from companies holding idle resources but has not made any payments to claimants due to lack of regulations.

Over 1,700 people have lodged demands for Sh42 million with the authority and the number is expected to increase as actual payments start being made.

“We are excited about it and are all set to make the payments,” said the authority’s chief executive Kellen Kariuki.

The law forming the authority was passed in 2011 but a delay in passage of the supporting legislation has hindered execution of its core mandate of reuniting unclaimed assets with their legal owners.

The authority started operations in 2013 and Ms Kariuki was appointed last year.

She said the authority will be electing its chairperson next week following the appointment of new directors after the term of the inaugural board expired.

Parmain Ole Narikae has been appointed to the board to represent bankers with other new members including lawyers Katwa Kigen and Karanja Njenga.

Ms Kariuki assured bankers - who have been lobbying to host UFAA’s account with an eye on the huge long-term deposits - the presence of Mr Narikae would not favour Chase Bank where he is a director in charge of external and regulatory affairs.

“We have to go by the procurement rules – it doesn’t matter who is on the board, everything is done competitively and he is also a council member at Kenya Bankers Association,” said Ms Kariuki.

The board is required to also include a representative of the insurance sector and consumer organisations.

UFAA targets to have accumulated assets worth Sh12 billion by June next year.

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