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Value of unclaimed assets grows to hit Sh13b in six years

By Frankline Sunday | October 12th 2020

Kenyan companies and fund managers surrendered more than Sh2.7 billion in unclaimed assets and monies belonging to deceased Kenyans in the 2018/2019 financial year. 

According to the latest financial report from the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA), the total value of unclaimed assets held by the State stands at Sh13.3 billion as at the end of September 2020, up from Sh10 billion recorded in 2018. 

“During the year under review, the Authority scaled efforts to ensure compliance by the holders of unclaimed financial assets through issuance of Surrender notices to all holders, began inspection of holder’s books on reporting and instituting the necessary structures, systems and procedures to guide the process,” said UFAA Chief Executive John Mwangi in a statement accompanying the results. 

“These efforts yielded a growth of the fund to the current value of Sh13.3 billion in cash, 539.77 million share units from various counters and 1,489 safe deposit boxes reported to the fund,” said Mwangi. 

The Authority spent Sh635 million from the Sh722 million budget for the 2018/2019 financial year. This included Sh157 million carried forward from the previous year, Sh207 million in direct disbursement from the exchequer and Sh354 million drawn from the Authority’s trust fund with the approval of the National Treasury. 

In addition to this, the agency reported Sh1.1 billion in investment income, up from Sh971 million the previous year with the money recorded as surplus that was carried forward for budgetary commitments in the 2019/2020 financial year.         

Fund managers

The latest financial results come on the back of reports that some fund managers and companies are still dragging their feet in surrendering assets of the diseased despite UFAA being in force over the past six years. 

According to the UFAA financial results, Sh22.9 billion worth of shares and Sh18.4 million in unit trusts have not been surrendered to the Authority, even as the fund managers have made the statutory reporting.

In its audit report on the financial results, the Office of the Auditor-General said UFAA was in breach of its mandate by failing to remit surrendered assets to beneficiaries in a timely manner. 

“Although there has been improvement of the reunification rate of assets with the beneficiaries over the last three years, the rate is slow, standing at 1.5 per cent of recipes as of June 30, 2019,” said Auditor General Nancy Gathungu in her report. 

Gathungu (pictured) cited instances where UFAA paid claims without obtaining a certified death certificate as required in its claims policy, as well as systemic weaknesses that could fuel graft.

“From the audit of the system, there was no evidence of review of activities of privileged users’ activities on key applications, databases and supporting operating systems,” said the Auditor-General.

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