Surrendered treasure boxes double at assets authority

The number of unclaimed safety deposit boxes holding secret treasures has jumped 65 per cent over the last two years as banks started cleaning their vaults as ordered by the regulator.

The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) said they have 1,592 safe deposit boxes up from 962 as at June 2017.

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The Central Bank of Kenya mid this year wrote to lenders instructing them to have their customers disclose the nature of any content stored in the boxes by December 31.

Banks have sought to clear their houses calling on customers to disclose contents of the safety deposit boxes while some lenders like Absa Bank have discontinued the service.

Those that have not been claimed are being piled up at UFAA which says it lacks capacity to store the treasure boxes.

Earlier this year, UFAA chief executive John Mwangi told Parliament that the content of the safe deposit boxes was unknown since the authority had not broken them due to legal and logistical challenges.

They are believed to contain jewellery, title deeds, share certificates and Treasury bills stored over the years.

Meanwhile, UFAA has begun to move over 800 million units of unclaimed shares that remained uncollected by owners and beneficiaries to the Unclaimed Assets Trust Central Depository Account.

Reported unclaimed shares have been in the custody of reporting institutions on instructions from the Authority.

UFAA has since obtained a non-trading central depository agent license making it possible to now hold all unclaimed shares in one account.

Other than unclaimed shares assets, UFAA is in the custody of Sh16.7 billion in cash.

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