How to reclaim unclaimed financial assets in Kenya

How to reclaim unclaimed financial assets in Kenya

Do you know how to check and reclaim your unclaimed assets?

You could be having unclaimed financial assets yet you need money to plug your strained budget.

You need to crosscheck because chances are that your money is lying idle at The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) and is likely to revert to the state should you or your kin fail to reclaim it.

Here are  examples of unclaimed assets?

  • Dormant accounts at banks.
  • Unclaimed dividends and interest earned from stocks and shares.
  • Unclaimed utility deposits in books of power and water companies.
  • Unclaimed retirement benefits at insurers at insurers and pension administrators.
  • Unclaimed death benefits and annuities from insurance companies.
  • Unclaimed bail and bond money deposited in Courts of Law.
  • Unclaimed deposits and benefits from collapsed institutions.
  • Uncollected prize money e.g. from a lottery.

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How long do different types of assets take before being considered unclaimed?

ASSET

 

DURATION OF ABANDONMENT

 

1.    Traveller’s cheque

 

2 years from the date of issuance

 

2.    Money order or similar written financial/ monetary instrument 2 years from the date of issuance

 

3.    Cheques, drafts or similar instruments

 

2 years after it was payable or after its issuance

 

4.    Demand, savings, matured time deposit, funds paid towards the purchase of a share, mutual investment certificate, any other interest in a financial institution

 

5 years

 

5.    Life or endowment Insurance policy or annuity contract

 

2 years after the funds become due

 

6.    Assets as a result of demutualisation of an insurance company

 

2 years after the date of the demutualisation

 

7.    Deposit for utility services e.g. electricity, water, etc.

 

2 years after termination of the services

 

8.    Order by a court for refund by holder

 

2 years after it became payable

 

9.    Ownership interest

 

3 years

 

10.  Assets from dissolved business entity

 

2 years

 

11.  Assets held in a fiduciary capacity

 

2 years after they become payable

 

12.  Gift certificate, gift card or credit memo/note

 

5 years

 

13.  Unpaid wages

 

1 year after they become payable

 

14.  Assets held in safe deposit box or repository

 

2 years after the lease or rental period on the box or repository has expired

 

How do assets become “unclaimed”?

According to section 3-18 of Unclaimed Financial Assets (UFA) Act, 2011 unclaimed assets have to meet the following conditions:

1.      When records of the holder do not reflect the identity of the person enlisted to the assets.

2.      When the holder has not previously paid or delivered the assets to the apparent owner or other person entitled to the assets.

3.      The last known address, as shown on the records of the holder, of the apparent owner is in a country that does not provide by law for the escheat or custodial taking of the assets or its escheat or unclaimed assets law is not applicable to the assets and the holder is domiciled in Kenya.

4.      Other ways that assets become unclaimed:

  •   Death
  •  Forgetfulness
  • Poor record keeping
  • Relocation (Regional & global)
  • Ignorance
  • Negligence

Also note that assets are considered “abandoned property” when they appear to have been forsaken by their owner by virtue of no generated activity and to which it is presumed the owner has relinquished his or her interest to the property without vesting such interest in another person or entity.

What does UFAA do with the money?

UFAA keeps money remitted by holders in a trust fund which is managed by the Authority. The Authority then reunites the funds with their owners.

How long does it take to process a claim?

A person claiming an interest in any assets paid or delivered to the Authority may file with the Authority a claim as prescribed by the Authority.

The Authority shall consider each claim within ninety days after it is filed and shall give a written notice to the claimant of its decision.

Where a claim is allowed, the Authority shall pay over or deliver to the claimant the assets or the amount the Authority actually received or the net proceeds if it has been sold by the Authority.

A person who is aggrieved by a decision of the Authority or whose claim has not been acted upon within ninety days after its filing may bring an action in court against the Authority.

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What does “unclaimed assets” mean and all you need to know about unclaimed financial assets

These are assets that:

(a)  have been presumed abandoned and have become unclaimed assets under the provisions of sections 4 to 18 of UFA Act.

(b)  have been transferred to the Authority as unclaimed assets, and ;

(c) have been deemed under any other law to be unclaimed assets and payable to the Authority, and includes all income, dividend or interest thereon but excludes any lawful charges thereon.

Any person can have unclaimed assets considering you may have put in a deposit in a bank, rented a facility or earned wages.

Unclaimed Financial Assets: Do I lose my money once it is turned over to the UFAA?

You do not lose any financial assets once remitted to UFAA. Indeed, UFAA on behalf of the Government exercise responsibility as “Bona Vacantia” (holder of assets in the public interest) and guarantee you an indefinite right of reunification. Heirs should constantly check for the status of deceased relatives

Does the unclaimed financial assets law only reach back to 2011?

The law is retroactive to the date of holding institution incorporation.

What are the responsibilities of holders concerning unclaimed financial assets?

These entities are responsible for identifying, segregating, reporting and remitting unclaimed assets to UFAA.

Who bears the cost for opening a safe deposit box?

Where a safe deposit box is forced open, the Authority shall bear the cost of the forced opening of the box and the repair of the box.

UFAA is an Authority created under the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act, No. 40 of 2011 to administer unclaimed financial assets.  The primary mandate of the Authority is to receive unclaimed financial assets from the holders of such assets, safeguard and re-unite the assets with their rightful owners.

The mandate of the Authority is to:-

  •          receive, safeguard, invest and disburse unclaimed financial assets
  •          receive all payments required by the Act to be made to the Fund
  •          ensure that holders of unclaimed financial assets either re-unite them or surrender them to the Authority
  •          carry out inspection of unclaimed financial assets to ensure accurate reporting
  •          ensure that all relevant information on unclaimed financial assets is submitted to the Authority and maintained in the database
  •          assume custody of the rights of unclaimed financial assets holder
  •          locate and notify owners of the unclaimed financial assets
  •          make payments out of the Fund to the rightful owners in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
  •          manage and invest the funds of the Authority;
  •          implementation of unclaimed financial assets policies and procedures.
  •          act as the Trustee to the Fund in accordance with Part V of Unclaimed Financial Assets Act
  •          enforce, and generally administer, the provisions of the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act
  •          advise the Cabinet Secretary on the national policy to be followed with regard to unclaimed assets
  •           to implement all government policies relating to it; and perform such other functions as are conferred on it by the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act

Why are laws on unclaimed assets necessary?

It is important to have laws on unclaimed assets for the following reasons:

  • A mandatory legal framework on unclaimed assets gives holders legal compulsion to manage these assets considering interests of the owners.
  • These laws reduce fraud by employees of holding institutions as well as reducing fraud and malpractice in such entities.
  • The laws protect the interests of beneficiaries such as widows/ widowers, orphans and dependents among others.
  •  These laws increase corporate governance by increasing transparency of managing third party assets.
  •  The laws help diaspora to be reunited with their assets hence increasing diaspora remittances.
  •  The laws also lead us towards realizing Vision 2030’s social and economic pillars which provide Kenyans with competitive financial services.

How can I prevent my assets from being considered “unclaimed”?

  • Be an active owner: cash cheques, dividends and insurance benefits no matter how small.
  • Keep making deposits into your accounts at least once a year to avoid having dormant accounts.
  • Always inform all interested parties of a change in your address.
  • Keep accurate financial records of bank accounts, stocks, safe deposit boxes and insurance policies.

How do I contact the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority?

Find us at:

Pacis Centre, 2nd Floor, Slip Road,

Off Waiyaki Way

Post mail to:

UNCLAIMED FINANCIAL ASSETS AUTHORITY

P.O. Box 28235-00200 , City Square , Nairobi.

You can call us during our business hours (weekdays from 8.00am -5.00pm) on:

+2547 0686 6984, +2547 3655 9152

020 4023 4400, 020 4343 4400

Email us on:

info@ufaa.go.ke

How long do I have to file a claim?

There is no limit for lodging a claim with UFAA. Owners can claim their assets at any time.

Who is a holder?

A holder (or a holding institution) is an entity which is in possession of a financial asset on behalf of an owner. These institutions can be banks, insurance companies, business, etc

Claiming Instructions

Specify your preferred mode of payment on your claim form. The Authority does NOT make payments in cash. Provide details for one of the following modes:
1.    Bank transfer – give account details e.g. name of bank, branch and account number.

If one of the following cases applies to you please attach the following details:
1.    Affidavit for change of name, if name on ID is different from that on any other identity document for the claimant or if the name of a company has changed.
2.    If claiming a banker’s cheque submit the original banker’s cheque or affidavit for loss.
3.    If claiming an insurance policy submit the original policy document/ affidavit for lost policy document.

Claiming by Original Owner

Where the owner is claiming, the following are the requirements:

1.    Completed form Original Owner(s) claim form ( Form 4A) duly commissioned.
2.    Completed Indemnity agreement (Form 5) duly commissioned.
3.    An official letter received from the holder confirming remmittance of unclaimed financial assets to the Authority.
4.     Certified copy of the claimant’s national identity card or passport (Certified by a lawyer).
5.    Certified copy of claimant’s PIN certificate (Certified by a lawyer).

6.   Claimant’s bank details indicated on claimant bank details form.

7.    Provide Bank Statement of an active account, current deposit slip, or withdrawal slip – clearly showing account name and number to confirm bank account details provided in item 6 above. (if more than one claimant provide statement of a joint bank account).

Claiming on Behalf (Beneficiary/Deceased cases)

Where the claimant is not the owner but has or asserts a legal right to an unclaimed asset, the claimant shall submit to the Authority the following:
1.    Completed beneficiary claim form ( Form 4B) duly commissioned.
2.    Completed Indemnity agreement (Form 5) duly commissioned.
3.    An official letter received from the holder confirming remittance of unclaimed financial assets to the Authority.
4.    Certified copy of the claimant’s national identity card or passport.
5.    Certified copy of claimant’s PIN certificate.
6.    Certified certificate of death.
7.    Certificate of Confirmation of Grant/ Certificate of Summary Administration.

8.    Claimant’s bank details indicated on claimant bank details form.

9.    Provide Bank Statement of an active account, current deposit slip or withdrawal slip – clearly showing account name and number to confirm bank account details provided in item 8 above. (if more than one claimant provide statement of a joint bank account).

 

Claiming on Behalf (where owner is alive/agent for owner)
Where the claimant is not the owner but is claiming as an agent on behalf of a living owner, the following are the requirements:
1.    Completed agent for owner claim form ( Form 4D) duly commissioned.
2.    Completed Indemnity agreement (Form 5) duly commissioned.
3.    An official letter received from the holder confirming remittance of unclaimed assets to the Authority
4.    Certified copy of the claimant’s national identity card or passport.
5.    Certified copy of claimant’s PIN certificate.
6.    Registered  power of attorney.(Registered at the Ministry of Lands)

7.    Claimant’s bank details indicated on claimant bank details form.

8.     One page copy of recent bank statement, current deposit slip or withdrawal slip (clearly showing account name and number) to confirm bank account details provided in item 7 above.

Claiming on Behalf of a minor
Where the claimant is claiming on behalf of a minor who is an original owner, the following are the requirements:
1.    Completed agent for owner claim form ( Form 4D) duly commissioned.
2.    Completed Indemnity agreement (Form 5) duly commissioned.
3.    An official letter received from the holder confirming remittence of unclaimed financial assets to the Authority
4.    Certified copy of the claimant’s national identity card or passport.
5.    Certified copy of claimant’s PIN certificate.
6.    Guardianship deed.

7.    Claimant’s bank details indicated on claimant bank details form.

8.    One page copy of recent bank statement, current deposit slip or withdrawal slip (clearly showing account name and number) to confirm bank account details provided in item 7 above (if more than one claimant provide statement of a joint bank account).

Claiming on Behalf of a business entity
Where the claimant is claiming on behalf of a business entity, the following are the requirements:
1.    Completed business entity claim form ( Form 4C) duly commissioned.
2.    Completed Indemnity agreement (Form 5) duly notarized.
3.    An official letter received from the holder confirming remittance of unclaimed financial assets to the Authority.
4.    Current form CR12 obtained from the Company Registrar indicating directors of a company.
5.    Certified copy of the directors’ national identity cards or passports (Certified by a lawyer).
6.    Certified copy of directors’ PIN certificates.
7.    Certificate of incorporation.

8.  Business entity’s bank details indicated on the claimant bank details form.

9.    One page copy of recent bank statement, current deposit slip or withdrawal slip (clearly showing account name and number) to confirm bank account details provided in item 8 above.

NOTE:

Documents from foreign jurisdictions should be notarised by a Public Notary.

A gazettement period of 30 days is required for benficiary and agent for owner claims. If no objection is received in our offices within this period, the funds will be paid to the claimantafter the gazettement period.

Status of the trust fund as at 31st March 2018

The Authority has received remittances amounting to KShs. 10.7 billion from holders into the Trust Fund Account including FOREX in various denominations. Reports have been made for 446,985,278 shares.
The Authority has so far received claims amounting to KShs. 245 million from 4640 claimants.
Unclaimed Financial Assets Regulations, 2016, recently gazetted, formalizes processes relating to management of unclaimed financial assets.

The Unclaimed Assets Trust Fund was created under Section 44 of the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act, No. 40 of 2011. It is vested in, and operated and managed by the Authority.
The Fund receive remittances from holders all moneys that become or are deemed to be unclaimed assets and other payments required by the Act or by any other written law to be paid into the Fund.
Payments are also made out of the Fund to rightful owners of unclaimed assets once identified.

Asset type Amount KShs.
CASH Cash remitted 10,411,335,668
Other FOREX reported 79,488,728.92*
USD Volume (2,954,142.24)
Estimated value (Kshs.) 298,212,387.5 *
Total 10,789,036,784*
SHARES Volume (446,985,278)
Estimated value (Kshs.) 25,762,841,810**
UNIT TRUST FUND Volume (9,079,391.03)
Estimated value (Kshs.) 15,308,632.16
SAFE DEPOSITS Volume 1,047 units
Total estimated Fund value 36,567,187,226**

NB: * denotes estimated value at prevailing market rate.

** denotes estimated Fund Value for assets remitted and reported.

Inquire about unclaimed financial assets here

Do you have unclaimed assets?

In the event that an owner of a property does not take any action during certain duration by law, to indicate his/her ownership, interest, or awareness, that property will be regarded as unclaimed. As a result of such developments, it then comes a responsibility of the holding institution to report it to the proper state agency. The modern rationale for such arrangement is that the state can best preserve and protect the interest of the rightful owner and possibly reunite the owner with his/her property.

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