Banks seek direction on unclaimed assets

May 20, 2013
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Kenya Bankers Association CEO Habil Olaka. Photo. FILE
Kenya Bankers Association CEO Habil Olaka. Photo. FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – Local banks have called on the Unclaimed Assets Authority to move with speed and guide the institutions how to hand over the unclaimed assets they hold.

Kenya Bankers Association CEO Habil Olaka says the authority should quickly form the management team that is supposed to directly oversee the process.

After recently appointing Vincent Kimutai Kimosop as the board chairman, the authority is also expected to come up with specific regulations that will help solve some of the special cases that may lead banks to hold some of the assets they hold longer, as the process begins.

The cases include the issue of safe deposits boxes which require the owner of the assets and the banks to open jointly yet some of the owners may have passed on.

“The banks would need to be given direction on how to go about this. And this being the first time, we expect some of the things be put in place and in a clear way,” Olaka told Capital FM Business.

The authority’s main aim is to help Kenyans get back their assets and invest some of them than letting them lie idle in banks.

“A lot of these assets are in form of cash and you know it is far much easier to connect with their owners. The money piles in the banks for example when either an account owner put some little money and does not do any transaction. Others have money in the bank and they fly out to live in foreign countries,” he pointed out.

Dividends paid by listed companies, bank deposits and insurance claims form the bulk of these assets.

Banks have been left in a dilemma since November 1, 2012 which was the expiry of the date for them to surrender the assets.

The authority’s board was gazetted on November 16 last year by the then Finance Minister Njeru Githae. The board members gazetted include Abdijhani Abdirahman Haji Abass, Charles Nduati, Asha Ndisyon Ngoley, Eric Orina and Vincent Kimutai Kimosop.

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