Kenya: 14,000 Dead People Got Stipend for Old Citizens

22 January 2020

Taxpayers have been losing millions of shillings in monthly stipend to ghost beneficiaries of a social protection scheme after a headcount revealed that about 14,262 dead people remain on payroll.

The Social Protection Department said it has removed the beneficiaries from its registry.

The payment to ghost beneficiaries has been helped by the growing use of ATM cards and mobile banking, which do not require physical presence.

"Recently, Inua Jamii clinics were conducted countrywide to ensure proof of life and 14,262 deceased beneficiaries were exited from the payroll," said Social Protection principal secretary Nelson Marwa.

He said the Sh2,000 monthly stipend that the ghost beneficiaries have been receiving has been redirected to other deserving Kenyans.

In April last year, Mr Marwa said the slots that fall vacant after audit get filled by new beneficiaries.

More than 1.09 million elderly persons, orphans and the disabled have received Sh4.47 billion in the November-December payment cycle.

The Sh2,000 monthly payment is released bi-monthly.

Previously, the registry had 1.3 million beneficiaries, meaning the audit significantly cleaned the list.

Those aged 70 and above are a majority at 764,644 of the 1.09 million beneficiaries. Last year, the beneficiaries complained of delays in receiving the cash, which was linked to Treasury late disbursements.

The Social Protection Department also linked the delays to an upgrade of their bank accounts to allow access through biometrics to curb fraud.

During the year, some 54,000 beneficiaries missed out on the March pay because they had not opened accounts in the four accredited banks.

Another 57,000 were not paid because they had disputed accounts registered in two banks.

The government contracted KCB, Equity Bank, Co-operative Bank and Post Bank to process the payments.

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