Millions in Guardian’s Fund lie unclaimed

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WINDHOEK, 31 January 2012 - Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement Lidwina Shapwa smiles during a two-day workshop under the theme Improvement of Land Administration Procedures and Capacity in Namibia taking place at the Safari Hotel and Conference Centre on Tuesday. (Photo by: Pearl Coetzee) NAMPA

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-Government currently has N$65 million worth of unclaimed monies in the Guardian’s Fund, the Deputy Minister of Justice, Lidwina Shapwa, announced in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Shapwa said the unclaimed money, which consists of funds from deceased estates and inheritances, had not yet been distributed due to estates not having been finalised.
Shapwa said there is currently – considerably, but understandably – pressure from the public on securing speedier finalisation of estates and payouts of inheritance from the fund.

“It is common cause that the passing of loved ones negatively affects the livelihood of those they leave behind (especially minors), who have a direct interest in securing speedier finalisation of the affairs of the deceased which include inheritance.”

However, it is often forgotten that there are many players in the administration of a deceased estate and that prescribed statutory tasks need to be performed before final distribution can be made, she added.

She said the Master of the High Court also has a duty to ensure that fraudulent activities are curbed in the process of determining the right heirs.

“Many stakeholders have to play their respective roles in contributing to the speeding up of various processes overseen by the Master.”

According to Shapwa the Master, who administers the Guardian’s Fund, currently has N$1.3 billion on the fund’s books, which consists of N$1.2 billion for minors and N$65 million as unclaimed monies.

She said the fund currently lists 24,784 minors as beneficiaries regarding capital received in the amount of N$883 million and accumulated interest earned in the amount of N$417 million.

Shapwa said most guardians prefer to save the funds of minors and do not claim from the minor’s account, which allows the funds to grow tremendously.

“Guardians mostly claim for educational expenses,” she added.
Shapwa said the Master is currently implementing a financial management system to assist the directorate to speed up service delivery, supervision of the administration of deceased estates, trusts, insolvencies and curatorship.

“The intention was to create a paperless work environment, automatic case working process, and improve efficiency, productivity and transparency in the delivery of quality service to the public.”

She said prior to the introduction of the case management system, the work at the Master’s offices relied heavily on the use of a manual process of recording information and a register to capture data on the number of cases and accounts held at the Guardian’s Fund, and other work streams.

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