State starts audit to weed out ghost elderly receiving Sh2,000

Economy

State starts audit to weed out ghost elderly receiving Sh2,000

The State has kicked off an audit to remove the dead from the registry of old people receiving the Sh2,000 monthly stipend from taxpayers. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The State has kicked off an audit to remove the dead from the registry of old people receiving the Sh2,000 monthly stipend from taxpayers.

Social Protection Department estimates that taxpayers are paying relatives and dependents of the dead retirement benefits, helped by the growing use of ATM cards and mobile banking, which do not require the physical presence of beneficiaries in banking halls.

The Treasury plans to stop wiring cash to bank accounts of beneficiaries who cannot be traced or are confirmed dead.

Social Protection principal secretary Nelson Marwa said county officers are currently confirming the data with chiefs to remove those who have passed on from the registry.

“By the end of this month, we shall declare the numbers so we can re-target the stipend to other deserving Kenyans,” he said.

Slots that fall vacant will be filled by new beneficiaries who are residents of the same localities, Mr Marwa added.

This comes as the State carries out a headcount of pension and civil servants to purge ghost recipients from the payroll.

More than 1.3 million elderly persons, orphans and the disabled receive Sh2,000 per month, which is paid every two months in a lump sum of Sh4,000.

The senior citizens aged 70 comprise 523,000 of the 1.33 million beneficiaries of the cash transfer programmes.

The last payment to the beneficiaries was made in March when they received Sh12,000 each, after a six-month hitch.

Delays in wiring the bimonthly allowance was linked to late release of the cash from the Treasury and an upgrade of the beneficiaries’ bank accounts to allow their access through biometrics to curb fraud.

Some 54,000 beneficiaries missed out on the March pay because they had not opened accounts in the four accredited banks; Co-operative, Equity, KCB and Post Bank.

Mr Marwa said their officers will from today (Tuesday) open accounts for the individuals so that they won’t miss the next payment cycle.

Another 57,000 beneficiaries missed out because they had disputed accounts where the recipient is registered under two of the accredited banks.

“The plan is to have all recipients with proper bank accounts so that the money can be wired directly to them in the May payment cycle,” he said.

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