The government has extended the deadline of beneficial ownership information submission for businesses by a further six months with effect from February 1.
In a statement, the director-general in the Office of the Attorney-General Department of Justice Mr Kenneth Gathuma said that the Business Registration Service (BRS) has received a significantly high number of applications to file Beneficial Ownership Information E-Register at the Companies Registry by persons who are keen to comply with the requirements of the Companies Act, 2015.
“As per our previous communication, companies registered under the Companies Act, 2015 and the Companies Act Cap. 486 Laws of Kenya (now repealed) are required under Section 93A to prepare and submit a copy of the Beneficial Ownership registers to the Registrar of Companies within 30 days of its preparation and to notify the Registrar within 14 days of any change in beneficial ownership information,” said Gathuma.
Previously, the deadline had been set for January 31, 2021, with the new deadline set for July 31, 2021.
Failure to comply with this requirement after July 31, 2021 makes it an offence to the company and every officer of the company who is in default and such officer will be liable to a fine upon conviction, the government said.
“We have first operationalized the e-Register for private limited companies and shall progressively operationalize the e-Registers for the other types of companies,” added Gathuma.
Gathuma warned the public to be cautious of persons soliciting money to facilitate them in
complying with the requirement, saying that submission of the beneficial ownership information is a simple process and free of charge that can be undertaken by any company officer/authorized person online by following the step-by-step Beneficial Ownership e-register Manual.
“BRS would like to reiterate for emphasis that the disclosure of the beneficial ownership information is a positive exercise that will promote good governance and increase trust in Kenyan companies and ensure greater transparency of company ownership. This will also support the government in the fight against corruption, money laundering and financing of terrorism,” he added.
Gathuma assured that the register is not accessible to unauthorized persons but only to competent authorities who may use the register upon request in accordance with the law.