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Come for your Sh38b assets, urges Matiang’i, enlists chiefs

By Zachary Ochuodho
Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi (centre) with Unclaimed Finance Assets Authority (Ufaa) chairman Richard Kiplagat (right) and Interior National Administration Secretary Chimwaga Mongo during the launch of the Rapid Results Initiative between Ufaa and the ministry at the Kenya School of Government, Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/ALICE MBURU

Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i has asked Kenyans to claim their assets or those left behind by their loved ones as the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) said it is sitting on Sh38.1 billion.

The authority said at least 993,000 people have yet to claim their assets since it was established.

Matiang’i said his ministry will work with Ufaa to explore the most effective ways of creating awareness on unclaimed assets enable people to claim the assets, adding that the government is keen to ensure that the interests of citizens were protected.

Ufaa agents

“Through the approach, county commissioners, deputy county commissioners, chiefs and their assistants will directly serve as Ufaa agents in order to ensure all Kenyans who are eligible to claim their assets can do so in the easiest way possible,” said Matiang’i during the launch of a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) forum at the Kenya School of Government, yesterday.

The CS urged holder institutions to surrender the assets and challenged Ufaa team to remind the public to routinely update their records as a matter of basic good financial practices to ensure their assets are not deemed unclaimed or abandoned.

According to Ufaa, out of the total Sh38.1 billion received, Sh13.1 billion is held in cash while 564.5 million units of cash and 1,454 safe deposit boxes are held in their custody at the Central Bank of Kenya.

Out of the amount, Sh1 billion was received from mobile phone companies, with 70 per cent coming from Safaricom Ltd while 30 per cent was received from Airtel Kenya.

Ufaa chief executive John Mwangi said the authority will work with the provincial administration to educate the public on unclaimed assets.

“Ufaa has been able to identify individuals whose cash amounts to Sh4.7 billion –— who cannot be contacted because they have changed their addresses or abandoned their mobile phone numbers,” said Mwangi.

He said Nairobi County leads with Sh2.5 billion in unclaimed assets, Central with Sh437m, Coast, Sh521m, Eastern Sh242.7m, Nyanza, Sh266m, Rift Valley, Sh688m and North Eastern, Sh243m and Western Sh38m.

Ufaa will also reach out to individuals who provided their work addresses but have been unable to claim their cash.

Mwangi said a recent study revealed that an estimated Sh250 billion is still being held by institutions, adding that those who are not remitting the money risked prosecution.

Ufaa chairman Richard Kiplagat said the partnership provides a great opportunity for the government to turn back abandoned assets to their owners.

“As an authority, we are keen on ensuring that Kenyans lodge claims and get reunited with their ‘lost’ assets,” he said.

Kiplagat said besides ensuring reunification is achieved, the campaign will also educate holding institutions to report and surrender unclaimed financial assets as per the UFA Act 2011. Holders are supposed to surrender assets by November 1, every year.

He said through the collaboration, administration officers will become directly involved in the reunification process by serving as Ufaa agents in order to ensure eligible Kenyans claim their assets at the grassroots.

Local administrators will be required to identify, locate and notify apparent owners/ beneficiaries of the existence of unclaimed financial assets and facilitate the processing of claims with the authority.