Govt Issues New Deadline to All Business Owners

  • Public Service Commission (PSC) office in Nairobi.
    Public Service Commission (PSC) office in Nairobi.
  • On Friday, July 16, the national government issued a public notice directing all business owners to provide the Beneficial Ownership (BO) information of their company by July 31, 2021.

    According to the notice, the new deadline follows the operationalization of the BO E-register platform on October, 13, 2020, which is in line with the Government’s Digital Economy Blueprint aspirations

    “All officers of companies and authorized persons are required to comply. Failure to comply with this requirement makes it an offence to the company and every officer of the company who is in default,

    “To enable companies comply, the Registrar hereby grants a grace period of preparation of BO register up to July 31, 2021, before enforcement for non-compliance.” reads an excerpt from the note.

    A user browsing through a smartphone for news.
    A user browsing through a smartphone for news.
    Simon Kiragu

    Under recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force on International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation, Kenya introduced section 93A of the Companies Act of 2015 in July 2019,

    The Statute Law Act provides that companies incorporated or registered in Kenya should keep a register of beneficial owners with the relevant information relating to such owners.

    The Attorney-General then published the Companies (Beneficial Ownership Information) Regulations, 2020 (the Regulations) which gave effect to section 93A of the Companies Act.

    Among other requirements, all companies are directed to enter the following particulars of the beneficial owner in the register:

    • The full name
    • The birth certificate number
    • The national identity number and/or the passport number
    • The nationality
    • The date of birth
    • The postal address
    • The business address
    • The residential address, telephone number, the email address, and the occupation or professio
    • The nature of ownership or control
    • The date the person became the beneficial owner as well as the date the person ceases to be a beneficial owner if applicable.

    The recently launched E-register platform is in line with a long list of automated services that have been adopted across various government offices.

    In 2015, the government of Kenya committed to several technological interventions to reduce public sector corruption, and boost efficiency in regards to public service.

    Some of these adaptations include digital government services under the e-government umbrella,

    digitization of public records, including land and business registrations, births, and deaths, and the expanded use of the iTax platform to administer domestic Kenyan taxes, among others.

    If employed optimally, automation significantly reduces the number of individuals involved in a process, as well as minimize the interaction between the service provider and client, thereby cutting down on opportunities for collusion.

    Technological systems can also record every step in the process undertaken, thus creating an electronic trail that can be easily analyzed and audited for discrepancies.

    As early as 2011, then Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura stated that the paperless records system woud assist the country professionalize its records management system.

    “The paper based registry system which we have used since independence has become unsustainable for Kenya’s public sector,” Muthaura detailed.

    After 10 years, his advocation for the adoption of technology across the public service sector is being realized as more and more parastatals launch their online service delivery platforms.

    In April 2020, the Competition Authority of Kenya announced that it had operationalized an e-filing portal aimed at increasing the Agency’s efficiency.

    Other agencies such as the National Construction Authority (NCA) have also fully automated their registration process after successfully launching online portals.

    Former Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura.
    Former Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura.
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