KENYA: OFFICIAL RECEIVER LAUNCHES PILOT E-FILING SITE FOR APPLICATIONS UNDER THE INSOLVENCY ACT, 2015
In the Restructuring Quarterly Bulleting for December 2022, available here, we highlighted that the new administration sought to rejuvenate the economy. At the end of 2022, the government announced that it would digitize nearly all government services to make the delivery of public services more efficient and speedier.
As part of this initiative, we note that the Official Receiver’s office has launched a pilot e-filing site (the Pilot Site) to allow for the online filing of applications to the Official Receiver under the Insolvency Act, 2015. The test system is available via e-citizen and is linked to an individual’s e-citizen account. The Pilot Site can be accessed here.
The Pilot Site allows an advocate, a director of the company, an insolvency practitioner, or a receiver in the Official Receiver’s office to make an application on behalf of a company or an individual. Examples of applications that can be made through the Pilot Site include individual bankruptcy and alternative processes such as no-asset procedure, summary instalment order, and individual voluntary arrangement. Corporate insolvency processes such as liquidation, administration, and administrative receivership can also be made on the platform. We note that some applications can be made by any person. For example, an application for certified copies of a document held by the Official Receiver.
It should be noted that the Pilot Site does not replace the court insolvency process as the details of the court case will be required when uploading an application. Applications that must be made to the court under the Act are to be made through the judiciary’s e-filing system or manual filings in areas where the e-filing system is not operational. Further, the existing statutory forms under the Insolvency Act and regulations must be prepared before making the application as they will be uploaded separately as files at the end of the application process.
Currently, the Pilot Site digitizes applications only for the Official Receiver’s office. Most insolvency proceedings under the Insolvency Act involve court applications. This means that parties will have to make court applications and after receiving the court orders also make the required applications to the Official Receiver. A key goal for the Official Receiver’s office should be to link their system with that of the Court to allow for the office to pick up on any insolvency court proceedings. This would save on the time and cost of preparing separate applications.
We note that the Pilot Site is already linked to other government databases to ease the process of verifying information. For example, a person’s national identification card number or a company’s registration number will be automatically checked against existing records.
The Pilot Site should ease the process of making applications by reducing the amount of time and cost as it allows for online correction requests and responses. We will continue to track these and other developments in the insolvency space and share updated notes.