[ICYMI] Kenyan court freezes Flutterwave accounts over money laundering

[ICYMI] Kenyan court freezes Flutterwave accounts over money laundering

A High court in Kenya has frozen bank accounts linked to a Nigerian fintech company, Flutterwave, over alleged money laundering and card fraud.

Flutterwave which is run by Gbenga Agboola was tied in an investigation involving 56 bank accounts holding 7billion Kenyan shillings ($59.3m) suspected to have been laundered by foreign nationals, according to The Star in Nairobi.

The Kenyan publication Asset Recovery Agency told the court that the accounts for seven targeted companies, including Flutterwave, were used as conduits for money laundering in the guise of providing merchant services.

Apart from the pan-African payment solutions firm, the other companies involved are Boxtrip travel and tours limited, Bagtrip travel limited, Elivalat fintech limited, Adguru technology limited, Hupesi solutions, Cruz ride auto limited and one Simon Ngige.

Of the seven companies caught in the investigation, Agboola's Flutterwave had 29 bank accounts with Guaranty Trust Bank, 17 with Equity Bank and 6 with Ecobank frozen with financial assets worth $56.7m (Sh6.7bn) in USD, British Pound Sterling, EURO and Kenya shillings.

This is coming about four months after investigative journalist David Hundeyin published an expose on the fintech startup over insider trading, fraud, perjury, sexual harassment and workplace bullying in an article titled 'Flutterwave: The African Unicorn Built On Quicksand' published on April 12, 2022.

However, After several months of investigation of Flutterwave, the ARA was able to obtain warrants to seize the firm’s accounts on April 4, 202, according to Isaac Nakitare, an investigator with the agency.

The provisional seizure permit was granted for 90 days, and the matter will be heard on November 7, per The Star.

Nakitare says by the time he obtained the orders, the accounts at Guaranty Trust bank belonging to Flutterwave had a balance of Sh5.3 billion, Sh1.4 billion at Equity bank and other millions at Ecobank.

“Investigations established that the bank accounts operations had suspicious activities where funds could be received from specific foreign entities which raised suspicion. The funds were then transferred to related accounts as opposed to settlement to merchants,” prosecutors alleged in filings.

The publication also revealed that the other firm involved in the probe, Boxtrip travels and tour's director is listed as another Nigerian identified as Enyioma Olufemi.

Justice Maina further issued orders stopping Boxtrip travels and tours limited from transferring or withdrawing $3.9 million (Sh460 million) held in his Eco bank account.

Another company, Bagtrip travels, which had its account holding Sh425 million shillings frozen in the probe also listed its director as Taiwo Soyemi, another Nigerian.

The probe also involved Aduru technology limited, the court froze Sh100 million held in its Equity account.

The directors of the company are listed as Adaeze Okonkwo, and Caroline Muchina, wife to David Muoko who is a director of Flutterwave.

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