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Unclaimed assets agency, diaspora alliance to work on seamless flow of capital

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) and the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) have announced collaborative efforts to leverage on conducive legal framework allowing seamless flow of capital and remittances to the country.

UFAA Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi stated that they will be leveraging on favorable legal framework to ensure they achieve the goal.

“I am not only hopeful, but also very delighted that the partnership between UFAA-KDA and other well-wishers, will help us unlock our full respective potentials exponentially and make Kenya and world at large a better place for all of us and generations to come,” said Mwangi.

He was speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the 8th Annual Kenya Diaspora Homecoming Convention, a three-day event which commenced on Wednesday, themed “Leveraging Diaspora Remittances for National Economic Transformation.”

The meeting is an annual event that brings together Kenyan Diaspora from all over the world for the celebration of the year gone by, networking, updates on KDA events, and any upcoming opportunities and initiatives.

The two institutions also agreed to work in earnest in creating awareness to the Kenyans encompassed under KDA on the importance of the mandate of UFAA in Assets Reunification for the Diaspora community.

“This is meant to protect Kenyans investments from falling into other countries coffers without ever being reunited. And lastly, the diaspora whose unclaimed financial assets are in Kenya are entitled to have their assets remitted to the Authority by all holding institutions in the country,” said Mwangi.

UFAA also pledged to ensure total reunification for  unclaimed financial assets  held by a foreign institution in a jurisdiction without the law of escheat.

Escheat law is a doctrine that transfers the ownership of unclaimed property to the foreign state if owners or heirs fail to claim that property.

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“In these instances, the Authority envisages addressing compliance issues on one part and reunification on the other. I must emphasize that Kenya’s unclaimed financial assets regime guarantees perpetual reunification,” Mwangi assured.

According to the law, financial assets become unclaimed when no enquiries are filed, followed by transactions or even instructions given on the assets within a certain period.

Some of the reasons leading to unclaimed assets include unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances of death, migration, changes of addresses and even human frailties of forgetfulness.

UFAA is lobbying for amendments to UFA Act, 2011 in a bid to ease the recovery process especially the low value claims which form bulk of the unclaimed financial assets.

“The lobbying for legal amendments will see the reunification process required for various financial assets being differentiated based on amounts and type to make it easier for reuniting UFAs with their rightful owners,” Mwangi stated.

UFAA was created under the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act no. 40 of 2011. The primary mandate of UFAA is to receive UFAs from the holders of such assets, safeguard and re-unite these assets with their rightful owners.

Latest statistics indicate that the Authority is managing a portfolio of Sh23 billion in cash, over 1 billion units of shares and over three thousand safe deposit boxes.

Claims worth over Sh1.5 billion, over 20 million units of shares and over 50 safe deposit boxes have been reunited with their rightful owners.

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