Kenya Has Billions In Unclaimed Assets

AssetAn amount of 3.4 billion Kenyan shillings worth of unclaimed assets has been collected by the UFAA in Kenya. The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) started operations in March 2013 with the first batch of money received in June 2014 from the Kenyan National.

Vincent Kimosop, who is the Chairman of UFAA, said, “In November we issued the notice to all institutions to comply with the requirements of the law. This is money that had these institutions not been there, we would not be talking about.” Kimosop said there is an African culture of non-documentation. “Unclaimed records are why we are in business, because people don’t write wills.” Kimosop said the UFAA has entrenched and deepened the financial sector. “This is money prone to attack by holding institutions and corruption.

But we are moving towards best practice.” With regards to processes that will encourage compliance, Kimosop said the law makes it mandatory to reach out to the owners of the assets at different timelines.

Secondly, he stated, “The UFAA is the only unique model in the world whereby we handle the money, we look for the people and actually also invest this money so that we are able to wean ourselves off the Treasury and become a self-sustaining institution.”

Kimosop said the UFAA is the first institution of its kind in the continent and therefore carries the responsibility to set benchmarks and create new ones that can be emulated by other countries. According to Kimosop, there is a principle in law that says “owner-less property can shift to the state”.

The function of the UFAA is to hold assets in trust before they find the rightful owners. “The primary objective of investing is reunification as we are the land of last resort,”  he said.

On the avenue of reinvesting the money into property, Kimosop said it works upon directives from the National Treasury. “We can’t just fund low-cost housing because experience shows that 60 per cent of unclaimed assets will be reunified.”

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