16 November 2012

Kenya: Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority Finally Gazetted

Nairobi — Finance Minister Njeru Githae has appointed the long awaited new board to head the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority.

In a gazette notice on Friday, Githae appointed Abdijhani Abdirahman Haji Abass, Charles Mwangi Nduati, Asha Ndisyon Ngoley, Vincent Kimutai Kimosop and Eric Barare Orina to the board.

They board will serve for the next three years with effect from October 25 this year. The authority will be in charge of collecting unclaimed financial assets from both public and private companies on behalf of the government.

All unclaimed dividends, bankers' cheques and cash deposits lying in banks will now be passed on to the authority.

"It is a cheap way of raising money on our side rather than letting this money lie in the banks. Sometimes banks turn these assets into their capital which is not right. We have seen in other countries where these unclaimed assets have been used to develop infrastructure," Finance assistant Minister Oburu Odinga said in earlier interview.

Several firms, mostly banks were however left in a dilemma after November 1, 2012 the expiry of the date for them to surrender the assets.

And even as they went ahead to surrender the assets, the court later ordered the process to be stopped until the board was formed, after a petition filed by the consumers of financial services association seeking to have the process stopped until the unclaimed financial assets authority was in place.

Most of them have blamed the government for not creating enough awareness about the matter, after it emerged that many Kenyans did not act on the call by these firms to collect their money despite many having huge unclaimed assets.

An unclaimed asset is intangible or tangible property that has been abandoned or lost by its rightful owner for an extended amount of time.

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