Beneficial Ownership Regulations in Kenya
There have been some significant changes in the law relating to disclosure of the ultimate beneficial owners of a Kenya incorporated company.
The new law is broad in scope and extends to the ownership or control of a Kenyan company, whether offshore or locally. As drafted, the law would also extend to offshore Trustee holding shares (directly or indirectly) in a Kenyan company.
The new law promulgated under the Companies Act is set out in the Companies (Beneficial Ownership Information) Regulations, 2020.
The Regulations are already in force and compliance is, therefore, a legal requirement.
It should be noted that criminal liability exists for non-compliance and liability can extend to the directors and company secretary of a Kenyan company. Therefore, reputational risk is also critical to consider. The Regulations are similar in some respects to those imposed on offshore centres by the FATF.
The salient requirements and obligations under the Regulations are set out in a comprehensive alert.