Government Takes over Sh8.7bn of unclaimed cash whose Owners Can’t be traced!

unclaimed assets

 Inset Pictures from left : 1 ) Ruto holding a piece of paper with figures of upto 100 Million during a political rally, 2) Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority CEO Kellen Kariuki, 3) Poor Kids on their way to School .

The Treasury has taken over more than Sh8.7 billion whose owners cannot be traced and is investing the money in government paper.

The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) — which holds unclaimed property in trust — says nearly 100 firms, especially banks and insurers, had surrendered Sh8.7 billion as at December, up from Sh5.8 billion in June and Sh3.2 billion in June 2015.

The authority has also been notified that beneficiaries of 180 million shares estimated at Sh25 billion cannot be found either because the original investors died or lost touch with the companies.

“The shares have just been reported, but money is at the central bank in a trust account. We have so far invested in government securities”, UFAA chief executive Kellen Kariuki said in phone interview.

The agency holds in trust cash held by companies for a defined period without any activity from the owner. It has been taking over unclaimed assets since 2014.

The Sh8.7 billion was invested in government securities, earning the trust Sh444.8 million in interest in the year to June in 2016.

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 the holding company to search for the rightful owners of an asset before declaring it as unclaimed and forwarding it to the agency.

Most of the unclaimed assets are attributed to failure by the deceased to inform the beneficiaries of the asset and the absence of a will stating the same.

But the money and the assets can always be claimed back, even after 15 years. Ms Kariuki said only Sh83.5 million had been claimed by 2,160 people following a campaign to encourage beneficiaries to collect their money.

The authority has put the names of beneficiaries on its websites for their relatives and next of kin to query and file for claims.

But some prominent personalities are yet to contact UFAA despite the transfer of their benefits being made public.

They include the Obama family. The authority is holding East Africa Breweries Limited shares belonging to Barack Hussein Obama, the father of the former US President, who died in a car accident in 1982. In 2015, UFAA announced it was also holding Obama Senior’s life insurance of Sh55,933 from the defunct Kenya National Assurance Corporation.

IDLE ASSETS

“Despite the publicity, we are still waiting for the Obamas to contact us for release of the benefits,” said Ms Kariuki.

Rita Auma Obama, sister of the former US President, is also listed among those whose assets are considered idle and have been forwarded to the agency.

Ms Obama’s details were forwarded by KCB. Another prominent person whose assets have been forwarded is Interior secretary Joseph Nkaissery whose assets were held by National Bank of Kenya.

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