Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) has started a sensitisation campaign to educate Kenyans on how they can access unclaimed assets.
Ufaa Chief Executive Officer John Mwangi said the authority was currently holding cash amounting to Sh13 billion and shares valued at Sh500 million.
“These financial assets have not been claimed from the Government and non-governmental institutions between 2014 and this year," said Mr Mwangi, adding: "We are holding them in trust and they can be claimed by their owners or beneficiaries."
The authority has published a list of names of owners of the assets, who cannot be traced. The intention is to link them with their beneficiaries, who might not be aware such assets existed.
“Some of the assets originate from cash deposits and dividends in bank accounts whose holders have died," Mwangi said.
In a bid to reach out to more people, the Authority intends to partner with county governments and the provincial administration.
“As an agency, we have no capacity to track the beneficiaries, but we hope with the assistance of chiefs and ward administrators, they will be traced and have the assets handed over to them,” Mwangi said.
Thomas Mwadeghu, a director at the authority, observed that the increase in number of unclaimed assets was due to failure by people to disclose their wealth to their families.
He said widows were the most affected because most were left languishing in poverty and seeking financial assistance from the society, while their funds lay idle in banks or in the hands of the authority.
“It is becoming a trend that spouses withhold details of their net worth from each other and once they die, the financial assets are left without any one to claim them,” said Mr Mwadeghu.
He added that men had a tendency of failing to claim their wives’ assets once the wives died, with most finding it bad for their ego.
Mwadeghu said the authority was ready and willing to assist claimants of the assets in processing administration documents to have them allowed access to the funds.
Nakuru Deputy Governor Erick Korir commended the authority, saying many families had been suffering despite their deceased relatives leaving behind funds for their use.
"The unclaimed finances may be little when narrowed down to individuals," said Mr Korir, adding: "However, it is good that they get back to the hands of their rightful beneficiaries".
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