Recently, the Kenyan government has enacted a new law that requires all directors of limited companies to declare their business ownership.
Failure to comply with this law will result in a penalty of Ksh. 500,000 per person and every officer of the Company who is in default.
A beneficial owner is an individual who ultimately owns or controls more than 10% of a company’s shares or voting rights, or who otherwise exercise control over the company or its management.
The idea behind this new law is that the Government wants to know who really controls a company so to enable them to effectively fight against corruption, counter-terrorist financing, money laundering among many others. Please note that Beneficial Ownership law is not new, since many other countries across the world have already adopted it.
The new law Companies (Beneficial Ownership Information) Regulations, 2020 requires company directors to fill and submit a copy of the Beneficial Ownership Register within 30 days of its preparation.
To enable Companies to comply, the Registrar has given all company directors a grace period of preparation of the Beneficial Ownership Register up to 31st July 2021, before enforcement for non-compliance.
Please note that if your company is not already linked on eCitizen, your application might take longer since it will require you to go through the ‘link a business‘ application. There is a risk that these types of applications (link a business) might delay the application and risk missing the Government deadline if the applicant hasn’t begun the application on time.