An Update on the Kenyan Unclaimed Property Act

by admin

Last fall, we mentioned that Kenya was considering passing an unclaimed property law that was very similar in scope and application to unclaimed property laws in the United States.  That law was passed and went into effect on December 16, 2011.  A copy of it can be found here.  As a review of the law makes clear, the provisions of the Kenyan act appears to be very similar to those of the 1981 Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, only with a 2 year dormancy period for most property types.

Although the Kenyan Act just recently came into effect, its application could be significant.  According to a recent editorial in Business Daily Africa, commercial banks in Kenya are holding approximately 7.4 billion Kenyan Shillings ($88.8M US) in dormant assets. Like its U.S. counterpart, the Kenyan act requires holders to send written notice to apparent owners of unclaimed property, and requires annual reporting.  As the editorial makes clear, however, the Act is decidedly silent on what (if any) obligation the government has to notify apparent owners of unclaimed property, or even what happens to the funds collected by the government.

In other non-U.S. unclaimed property news, the Northern Mariana Islands passed its proposed unclaimed assets legislation.  The final act, which passed on February 6th, can be found here.  Also, according to an article in Benefits Canada, the draft budget of Ontario (Canada’s) minority government announced its intent to establish an official provincial unclaimed property program