Entities sit on over Sh200b of unclaimed assets

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UFAA chairperson Richard Kiplagat. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) is banking on the Auditor General to help it deliver on its mandate by calling out government entities that fail to remit unclaimed assets.

Public sector agencies are among the organisations holding upwards of Sh241 billion made of different financial assets belonging to Kenyans who have not made a claim to them.

The entities also include banks, listed firms and insurers holding onto cash in dormant accounts, unclaimed dividends, safe boxes, unit trusts and insurance policies whose owners cannot be traced.

The authority has so far received Sh50 billion worth of unclaimed assets. “We have partnered with the Office of the Auditor-General to facilitate the audit of public sector agencies on compliance with unclaimed financial assets reporting and surrender,” UFAA chairperson Richard Kiplagat said yesterday.

“The Auditor-General has scoped compliance with unclaimed financial assets law as an audit issue in the ongoing statutory audit across agencies of government at national and county levels,” he added.

Deputy Director at the Office of the Auditor-General John Karingithi said all government agencies would be required to report on their compliance with the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act, 2011, which requires public and private sector entities to surrender unclaimed financial assets with the authority.

“There are already procedures on the process of surrendering unclaimed financial assets. Soon, this will become a routine… all Ministries, Departments and Agencies will be required to stick to it,” he said. The Auditor-General has started flagging non-compliance with the unclaimed assets law among government entities.

The public sector entities are, however, not the only ones flouting the law. Numerous private sector firms have also been sitting on financial wealth whose owners cannot be traced, adding to the over Sh241 billion being held by about 490,000 institutions.

As of last year, UFAA said it had received about Sh50 billion worth of unclaimed assets. This included Sh20 billion in cash, shares worth an estimated Sh28.75 billion (901 million units of shares) and units trusts of an estimated Sh55.66 million. 

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