Unclaimed monies surrendered by telcos rose 48.06 per cent or Sh570.3 million in the past nine months revealing a growing trend of Kenyans abandoning cash in mobile money accounts.
A report on the first nine months of this year by the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) says money surrendered by telcos stood at Sh1.76 billion up from 2018 full year release of Sh1.19 billion where Ufaa received Sh340.6 million a year earlier.
Leaving of huge amounts of money in mobile wallets could have been informed by growing scrutiny and monitoring of transfer of large sums across mobile networks by State agencies fighting terrorism, money laundering and corruption.
“Log into our website and use your full names and identity card to establish if there is some money for you. Most monies surrendered are below Sh5,000 and we are in talks with the National Treasury that will see regulations amended allowing claimants of small amounts of money assisted to lodge claims,” said Ufaa chief executive John Mwangi last week.
Mr Mwangi said this will make it faster and easy for small claimants to lodge claims.
While in the past people with ill-intent registered mobile money accounts using stolen identity cards or unlawfully used a relative’s mobile line, enhanced know-your-customer procedures, especially based on amounts of money transacted via the mobile phone line has seen many abandon the funds.
Many would rather lose the funds than risk revealing their identity and subsequent prosecution as well as public shame owing to the stigma associated with seizure of ill-begotten wealth.
During police officers’ integrity sittings, mobile money transactions emerged as a culprit in sending and receiving bribes.
The Assets Recovery Authority, the Ethics and Anti-corruption Authority as well as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Anti-banking Fraud Unit have been closing following traces of suspicious money transfers.
This has seen telcos flag suspicious money transfers to authorities like it happened a year ago when Mr Hassan Abdi Nur who allegedly bankrolled the Dusit2 terror attack operated 52 money accounts with 47 of them being activated in October 2018.
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