Over Sh241 billion lie unclaimed at the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA)
The financial assets, including bank deposits, savings left at banks with owners losing touch, dividends not cashed in time, shares from collapsed companies, pension, utilities like water, electricity and rental deposits have been handed to UFAA for Kenyans to claim.
Speaking during a sensitization meeting in Mombasa, the Authority chief executive officer John Mwangi said the state corporation under the national Treasury was empowered by law to collect the unclaimed financial assets on behalf of Kenyans, safeguard them and give the same to the rightful owners.
Mwangi said almost every Kenyan has unclaimed financial assets from telephone airtime balances, to water and electricity deposits they paid at a premise and moved out without getting refunds which account for 90 percent of unclaimed financial assets.
He said the state corporation is funded by the government to link Kenyans with their financial assets that were left with any institution as captured through an act of parliament number 40 of 2011.
The CEO urged members of the public to visit the corporations website www.ufaa.go.ke for online requisition of their assets, request in writing for the financial assets or use the provided USSD short code *361# to register for refunds.
“So far many institutions have complied with the said law and remitted unclaimed assets to the institution and we call upon Kenyans to come for their financial assets,” said Mwangi
The 2011 Act of parliament requires all institutions that deal with financial related services to remit their returns to the Authority, failure to which the directors of the institutions risk heavy penalties including jail terms.
“The Sh241 billion available for Kenyans to collect is only from 500 institutions which have remitted the unclaimed financial assets,” added the CEO.
He stated that their audit of all registered institutions withholding money belonging to Kenyans surpass Sh477, 000 which translates to lot of money for Kenyans in the wrong pockets.
He said the fines for not committing the financial assets to the authority besides penalties and jail terms, include Sh50, 000 per day times the number of days the institution stayed with a Kenyan citizen money without remitting it to the authority.
Additional charges include 25 percent of the value of the assets and an interest of 10 per cent per year, one year jail term for the directors or Sh1 million fine.
Meanwhile, the CEO clarified that the authority only deals with financial assets but not property such as land, buildings or motor vehicles.
Former Member of Parliament Thomas Mwadeghu who sits in the assets authority as a director called on Kenyans to come for their cash at the institution since it is their right and legal property.
He said the government was committed to ensuring that every person gets what is rightfully theirs.
For those assets which will never be claimed, the authority is working on a national policy to determine which social economic welfare programmes the money can fund to the benefit of all.
By Joseph Kamolo