Ruto removed from list of unclaimed asset owners

Deputy President William Ruto. file photo | nmg
Deputy President William Ruto. file photo | nmg 

Deputy President William Ruto has been removed from the list of investors whose unclaimed assets had been taken over by the Treasury, suggesting he has claimed the idle asset.

The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) picked Mr Ruto’s unclaimed cash from telecoms operator Safaricom #ticker:SCOM after he failed to collect dividends accruing from his shares in the company.

But Ruto’s name is missing from the latest register of those whose idle assets had been transferred to the authority.

The August fillings from the authority revealed that the deputy president was among top politicians on the list, including National Super Alliance (Nasa) co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka.

The UFAA did not specify the amounts of the two politicians’ seized assets. It is not clear whether Mr Musyoka’s unclaimed cash lies in dormant bank accounts or shares in three listed banks.

“We notified the office of the deputy president after the press reports,” said a source at the UFAA in reference to a Business Daily report on August 22 indicating that Mr Ruto and Mr Kalonzo were among those whose idle assets had been ceded to the authority.

The law requires companies to hand over to the State different categories of idle assets whose owners have not claimed for up to five years.

All seized assets are held in the Trust Fund account at the Central Bank of Kenya.

Idle assets belonging to prominent people, including the families of former presidents Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, the father of former US President Barack Obama and late Interior secretary Joseph Nkaisserry, have been surrendered to the State.

The late Nkaisserry’s name is missing from the latest filling. The UFAA in August said the Kibaki family had lodged a claim, but the name of former first lady the late Lucy Kibaki remains in the latest list.

Mrs Kibaki’s assets were forwarded to the authority by Co-operative Bank in 2015 — months before she died in a London hospital.

Lena Moi, former president Moi’s spouse, died in 2004 and her East African Breweries Limited and Centum shares were transferred to UFAA in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

The list of assets classified as unclaimed includes bank accounts that have been dormant for more than five years, bankers cheques not cashed for two years and contents in safe deposit boxes unclaimed for more than two years.

Matured life insurance policies unclaimed for more than two years and shares whose dividends have not been collected for more than three years also qualify to be handed over to the agency.

It is the responsibility of a company to search for the rightful owners of an asset in its custody before declaring it as unclaimed and forwarding it to the UFAA.

UFAA usually invests the cash in Treasury bonds which offer fixed returns, eliminating the risk of deterioration of value as it waits for beneficiaries to lodge claims that are vetted before payment can be processed.