Money lying idle in government custody rose by 23 percent in 2019 or Sh3 billion, most of it uncollected salaries, pension dues, matured policies, bank deposits and royalties.
Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) said it now holds Sh16 billion that Kenyan families — some of whom could be languishing in poverty with members in frail health for lack of proper medication — are unaware of their existence.
The report by Ufaa also disclosed that another 12 million shares of listed companies of an undisclosed value had been surrendered. This indicates a trend where spouses distrust one, with information on private property hardly disclosed to family members.
Ufaa said it is now holding 567 million shares, a 2.1 percent rise from 2018’s reported shares of 555 million.
Last week Ufaa chief executive John Mwangi told parliament the agency was yet to know the value of contents in safe boxes held by various institutions, which could be worth billions of shillings.
They hold valuables such as title deeds, company incorporation and share certificates, jewellery and firearms and at times illegally stashed local and foreign currency.
Speaking to MPs last week, Mr Mwangi said Ufaa had received another bunch of 962 safe boxes, with Barclays Bank, now renamed Absa, holding 854, Standard Chartered Bank (80), Guardian Bank (15), Habib AG Zurich (8) Guaranty Trust Bank (3) and Ecobank (2).
In its 2018 end-year disclosure, Ufaa said it was holding 1,451 safe boxes that were yet to be opened and their contents verified.
According to the law, the contents of the safe boxes are to be auctioned to enable the banks recover renting fees and the safe box repair cost, with remaining value surrendered to Ufaa, which in turn holds the same in trust until the owners are traced.
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