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Financial Assets Authority
John Mwangi
Kariuki
Kellen Kariuki
Mwangi
UFAA
Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority

Work cut out for incoming unclaimed assets executive

nclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) insider John Mwangi will have to implement the recommendations of several reports that identified billions of shillings held in suspense accounts by listed and private entities as he takes over the helm of the agency. Mr Mwangi, who earlier headed a team responsible for auditing public and private firms across various sectors, is in possession of the reports that contain evidence of billions of shillings held in suspense accounts that need to be sent to Ufaa for reunification with their rightful owners.

Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) insider John Mwangi will have to implement the recommendations of several reports that identified billions of shillings held in suspense accounts by listed and private entities as he takes over the helm of the agency. Mr Mwangi, who earlier headed a team responsible for auditing public and private firms across various sectors, is in possession of the reports that contain evidence of billions of shillings held in suspense accounts that need to be sent to Ufaa for reunification with their rightful owners.“Some listed firms declared monies held in suspense accounts as part of their profits and this is a big shame since they are lying to shareholders as their accounts are in the red. Ufaa will soon reveal the reports for action,” said a source privy to the board decision to appoint an insider whose role will be to fast-track the recovery of the money.The reports have been presented to the board for adoption pending the activation of a name-and-shame campaign that will be followed by punitive action where company CEOs of defaulting entities will be fined for failing to effect the surrender.Mr Mwangi took over from founding chief executive Kellen Kariuki, who declined to apply for a second term at the end of her first tenure that saw Ufaa establish structures as well as hire staff.Ms Kariuki’s tenure saw Sh13.1 billion surrendered by banks, corporate firms, and insurance companies, among others, with 1,451 safe deposit boxes containing jewellery, cash in various denominations and even firearms, while custodial registrars surrendered 555.5 million units of shares, thought to be worth about Sh40 billion.Ms Kariuki also oversaw the inking of several memorandums of understanding between Ufaa and regulatory agencies requiring companies to seek Ufaa clearance before having their annual operating licences renewed.She also obtained partnership agreements where auditors from regulatory agencies will work with Ufaa staff when inspecting books of various entities.

In a statement, Ufaa board said Mr Mwangi, whose appointment as CEO and managing trustee took effect on March 1, will enjoy the board’s full support.“The board is confident in the appointment of Mr Mwangi and assures him of its full support in this new journey,” it said.Prior to his appointment, Mr Mwangi was Ufaa’s manager in charge of the unclaimed financial assets line, a position he held for the last four years.Sudden death is the most common reason for assets not being claimed. Long illnesses, name changes after marriage, divorce, unreported changes of address, incomplete or illegal records and emigration, all contribute to the assets being forgotten.One individual using multiple names to hide his wealth from tax authorities is another reason.Normally, many people hardly disclose their monetary worth and ownership of physical assets, thereby creating a smooth avenue for private money stashed in banks, insurance companies, saccos, unclaimed salaries and royalties, among others, to be ceded to the government.When rightful owners fail to claim these assets over a specified number of years, banks, stockbrokers, utilities, employers, life insurance companies and the government normally transfer them into suspense accounts.It is estimated that one third of insurance policies are not paid out because family members were not aware of their existence or the insurance company was not notified and neither was an effort made to find the reason for dormancy.As of November 4 last tear, the assets recovery authority said it was holding Sh13 billion in interest-earning accounts and securities valued at about Sh40 billion whose owners could not be traced.

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