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Insights

Business interruption: closure of government offices and registries

By James Kamau and Amrit Soar

In this time of growing uncertainty, we recognize that many of our clients are experiencing significant business disruption and facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.

We are carefully monitoring global developments, and adhering to recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Government of Kenya. In response to this, we have put in place business continuity plans to ensure that we can continue to seamlessly provide our services remotely should the need arise.

Office operations

Like many of you, we appreciate the speed with which this situation is developing and the resulting complexity. We do not anticipate any material disruption to our ability to support you in your matters or our business operations arising from the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.

We have however adjusted our office hours to 9.00 am – 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday. We shall update you should we readjust the office hours or anticipate that we shall be fully operating remotely for any duration of time. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you accordingly.

Client meetings

There are a number of meetings that had been scheduled for this and the coming months at your offices, our offices and other venues. Due to the current situation, we propose to hold such meetings through tele/video conferencing facilities/platforms.

Our lawyers shall be reaching out to you to confirm these meetings and provide the call details where necessary.

Government operations

Following the President’s directives on Sunday 15 March 2020 on the coronavirus COVID-19 interventions, a number of the Government offices and registries have scaled down their operations and in some cases completely shut down. We are engaging with these offices with a view of arriving at a working solution to ensure that all matters progress during this period, and shall update you once we receive feedback.

Please see a high level summary below:

 Land Offices and Registries

Directive

In accordance with the Public Notice from the Ministry of Lands & Physical Planning:

  • All Land Registries and offices countrywide will be closed.
  • Services at the Survey of Kenya Headquarters, Ruaraka are also suspended.
  • Emergency services will be offered via customer care desks.

Effective date

17 March 2020

Duration

30 days

Impact on business

High

  • All services offered at the land offices and registries including title searches, valuation for stamp duty, stamping, registration of documents and related matters will be at a standstill.
  • Fate of documents assessed but not stamped and registered may result in penalties.
  • Undertakings issued by advocates and/or financiers, which are time sensitive, will be impacted.

Time sensitive contracts where obligations of parties are tied to performance of functions by the registries will similarly be impacted.

Directorate of Immigration Services (DIS)

Directive

In accordance with the notices from the DIS:

  • All national and foreign nationals management services have been suspended.
  • Urgent services to be provided on appointment basis only.

Effective date

16 March 2020

Duration

Indefinitely

Impact on business

High

  • Immigration status – It is expected that many foreign nationals will fall out of status during this period. We are engaging with the DIS and shall update you on the status regularization process.
  • Increased lead time - Due to the suspension, we recommend that businesses increase the local onboarding lead time by 3-4 months.

 Business Registration Service

Directive

In accordance with the attached notices from the BRS, all banking hall transactions have been suspended for a period of 14 days.

Effective date

16 March 2020

Duration

Indefinitely

Impact on business

Medium to High

Significant transactions such dissolution of companies, registration of charges and debentures and physical file perusals can only be processed/completed once BRS resumes operations.

The other services can be processed online on www.brs.ecitizen.go.ke

 Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI)

At the time of sending this circular, the operations at KIPI were running normally. We shall provide an update as soon as there is a development.

NGO Coordination Board

At the time of sending this circular, the operations at the NGO Board were running normally. We shall provide an update as soon as there is a development.

Coronavirus Resource Center

We pride ourselves on our clients’ success and are fully committed to providing you with efficient access to information to assist in overcoming adversities presented by the coronavirus COVID-19 global health crisis. To this end, DLA Piper created a Coronavirus Resource Center which contains a wide range of information to help guide our clients, including alerts and webinars and publications various business/ commercial issues.

 We at DLA Piper Africa, IKM Advocates are invested in safety and well-being of our people and clients and as this situation continues to evolve, please rest assured that we remain committed to working with you to address the business uncertainties/challenges ahead.

For more information on the above or any other concern relating to coronavirus COVID-19, please contact Amrit Soar on [email protected].

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