A WhatsApp message has been circulating widely asking users to register their next of kin through a shortcode.
With many Kenyans keeping their M-Pesa balances and PINs secret, there have been incidences of unclaimed money when the user dies. With all transactions requiring a national ID card (or some other form of verification like passports and military IDs) and the user’s presence, many relatives are left unable to transact or retrieve the deceased’s money from M-Pesa.
The WhatsApp message asks users to dial *234*5# then select 6 to get guidance on what to do next.
The *234*5# is a Safaricom shortcode (USSD) used to provide subscribers with M-Pesa information. The specific number 6 instruction does not work as it requests the user to enter a Bonga PIN.
The Treasury, through the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) released a statement saying that it was holding Kshs 176 million in unclaimed M-Pesa accounts. “The highest amount is about Kshs 500,000 belonging to a single individual,” the statement adds.
Safaricom has provided detailed instructions on how to make a claim as a next of kin on its website. The documents required include:
- ID of claimant
- Statutory Declaration (affidavit)
- Grant of Letters of Administration (intestate)
- Grant of Probate
- Confirmation of Grant of Probate or Confirmation of Grant of Letters of Administration
- Letter from the Provincial administration
There is no evidence of Safaricom stating that it holds Kshs 1.7 billion in unclaimed M-Pesa funds.
The claim that Safaricom subscribers can register their next of kin details using the *234*5# shortcode is MISLEADING.