, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 17 – The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) has launched its three year strategic plan.
Mandated to receive unclaimed financial assets from holders of such assets on behalf of the Government of Kenya, safeguard and re-unite the assets with their rightful owners, it became the first of its kind in Africa following its launch in 2011.
According to UFAA CEO Kellen Kariuki, the plan includes seven strategic objectives which include establishing a robust, facilitative policy, legal and regulatory framework for unclaimed financial assets.
“UFAA will achieve this by working hand in hand with all the necessary legal bodies. We will also enhance shareholder participation and support for legislative and policy changes,” said Kariuki.
Other strategic objectives include enhancing compliance with the provisions of the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act and regulations, safeguarding surrendered assets through the unclaimed assets trust fund, developing and maintaining a robust ICT system for effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery and enhancing institutional identity and corporate image among others.
The strategic plan comes at the back of massive accumulation of assets that remain unclaimed by their rightful owners.
According to Kariuki, Central Bank has approximately Sh3.3billion in its trust fund that remains unclaimed. Additionally, 60 percent of all unclaimed assets remain unclaimed, according to the Authority.
“We therefore want to trace the owners of all unclaimed property whether they know about it or not, and re-unite these properties to them. The properties in questions include shares, schemes, insurance policies and cash among others,” Kariuki said.
The company is therefore collecting unclaimed property from companies withholding them and submitting them to their rightful owners. Companies to have submitted property that has not been claimed include Safaricom Limited, Kenya National Insurance among others.
Safaricom, for instance, has submitted Sh196million to the Authority in the hope that UFAA will reunite the property to its owners.
Commenting on the launch of the strategic plan, Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury Henry Rotich applauded the company’s launch saying that it is the first step to bettering people’s lives.
“There was approximately Sh900billion worth of unclaimed assets by 2008. By now, it could be higher if all companies and government institutions were to render all unclaimed assets,” Rotich said.
He therefore urged institutions withholding assets to submit them the Authority.
Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority has also officially launched its website, www.ufaa.go.ke. According to the Chairman of the Authority Vincent Kimosop, the portal is an easy way of getting information on a person’s unclaimed assets.
“Using our online portal, it is now easy to know how to get the property that you have never claimed. You only need to key in your name and the postal address you usually use on the website. That will be the first step towards claiming your property,” Kimosop said.
The Smartphone uptake and an increased literacy are also set to assist more people in knowing the status of their unclaimed property.
Claimants will as a result only need to go online and key in their name to find out if they have unclaimed property that has been submitted to the Authority.
The company is therefore discouraging people from visiting their Westlands’ office advising them to use the online procedure as it is easier.
“It has been a long journey to get where we are today. My hope is that the Authority takes into account their role to the society and fulfils it effectively,” Rotich concluded.