Do You Reserve the Right To Claim Deceased’s Mobile Money Account?

Mobile money transactions

Last week KT Press reported how it’s difficult for a relative to claim money left on mobile money account in case one dies unexpectedly.

Several Rwandans die and leave behind huge sums of cash on their Mobile Money accounts.

As of December 2018, the number of mobile money subscriptions stood at Rwf10.7 billion with mobile money transactions at Rwf97.1 million in the October report by Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) compared to Rwf84.23 million (transactions) and 10.1 million active mobile money subscribers.

A mini survey conducted by KT Press discovered that most of this amounts remain dormant after their owners die.

This time we bring some of the clues which can help one make a right decision ahead of time if one dies and leaves behind their money on mobile account1.

This is what a person related to the deceased, no matter the age, but born alive, is expected to do in order to claim the funds as the rightful successor.

One must provide a court judgment indicating one is the successor, a death certificate of the deceased (de cujus), marriage certificate and birth right certificate provided by the district or sector office.

Alternatively, one also must provide a family council meeting resolutions confirming that he or she is the heir of the de cujus.

If the heir is a child, the family council in the case writes resolutions designating a family representative and also in case there are many successors.

This is provided for in the central bank regulation No 08/2016 of 01/12/2016 Governing Electronic Money Issuers in its Article 13 (d) which states that: The e-money issuer shall, in the case of deceased persons’ account, comply with the law that governs the succession as modified to date”.

Juliette Kavaruganda, the lawyer of Rwanda National Bank (BNR) says that these documents are very crucial in claiming one’s succession right to either mobile money or bank account funds of the de cujus.

Succession law (Gazette n°31 of 01/08/2016) is applied starting first with a declaratory judgement of death in the event of absence or disappearance.

However, there are reasons for ultimate debarment from succession of the person the succession/inheritance is about (de cujus).

These include: if one is convicted of intentionally killing or attempting to kill the deceased person in question, convicted of a false accusation or perjury that could have resulted in the de cujus, and a court judgment convicting the legitimate heir of the above circumstances is sufficient to deprive one the right to be among heirs.

The succession is said to be unclaimed when there is no heir or heirs renounce to their right of succession.

The procedure for succession in case of unclaimed succession is as follows:

In this case a competent court or the Abunzi (mediators) Committee declares that property following the petition of the Executive Secretary of the Sector where succession is expected to take place or where the estate is located; and within a period of one month of receiving the petition, the court or the Abunzi Committee must provisionally declare succession unclaimed.

At the opening a bank and mobile money account, the law requires customer service agreements which includes addresses of the close relative of the e-money /bank account holder, to which the issuer sends the notification on the inactivity or dormancy of the account.
Anastasie Niragira, the Head of marketing and customer experience at Equity Bank Rwanda says that in case of funds on a bank account of the deceased, it’s not automatic that the heir claims the money.

“The bank requires that one provides a court instruction to prove that they are the wife or children of the deceased. In case of a conflict arising over the money left behind we require a police instruction or a government entity to provide an affidavit which is stamped and notified,” said Niragira.

This paperwork may take a long time to get at the district or sector level but the banks say that once approved, it takes less than three days to have the money transferred to the rightful heir.

After five years, banks and e-money service providers are required to send unclaimed money to the central bank.

According BNR Governor John Rwangombwa, in case a claimant comes up to claim the money that has reached central bank that have to provide the legal paper work that includes police, court and local government certification of the one being next of kin in accordance to the succession law.




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