The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) has disclosed that Sh.241 billion has been abandoned by Kenyans.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Finance Planning on Monday 16th, November, Ufaa Chief Executive Officer John Mwangi, revealed that various institutions are sitting on unclaimed assets including shares, dividends, bank accounts, safe boxes and insurance policies.
Some of the unclaimed assets, according to the authority was influenced by shares, dividends, bank accounts, safe boxes, cautionary money and tender deposits that have been lying idle for over two years.
The authority said the bulk of the unclaimed assets are held by learning institutions such as universities and government bodies.
Highlighting that government institutions are notorious for refusing to surrender unclaimed cash to the state as required by the law, John Mwangi called on Parliament to review the claim procedures to make it more attractive to low value claimants.
“We have a case of assets having been identified and a lack of cash to remit to the authority. It is the unwillingness of the government institution to remit these assets. There is no incentive to remit the assets. We are working on the area of enforcement to ensure that the assets are remitted,” said Mwangi.
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.
The shares targeted for surrender are those for unwillingness owners who have failed to participate in corporate actions for at least three years. The actions include attending annual shareholder meetings, collection of dividends or taking up additional shares during stock splits.
Holding shares worth Sh.26.3 billion, the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority says it is struggling to re-unite the cash with their rightful owners/ beneficiaries claiming the worth of assets under the Treasury’s custody is turning off some claimants.
However, the claimants are not entitled to income made from the unclaimed assets as per the law with the money surrendered to Treasury.