The recent notice by the Registrar of Companies that all companies should disclose their beneficial owners has sent shock waves among the corruption networks in Kenya. Cases of shadowy ownership of companies have hindered the fight against corruption by making it hard to unearth the real beneficiaries of funds stolen through intricate corruption networks.

Prior to this notice, the Companies Act No. 17 of 2015, did not have provisions for disclosure of beneficial owners in Kenyan companies. In an attempt to promote transparency in ownership of Kenyan companies and to comply with international standards on transparency, Section 93 of the Companies Act was amended in 2017 to require a company to disclose information relating to beneficial owners of shares recorded in its register of members.

Failure to comply with the notice will attract a fine of Ksh.500,000 on each Director.  The noose is tightening around the neck of corruption perpetrators as Kenya makes remarkable progress in the fight against corruption.

Companies had been given until January to provide the State with the identity of secret shareholders including names, phone numbers, and residential addresses. This will go a long way in the efforts of anti-graft agencies efforts to unmask illicit wealth.

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