More trouble for Flutterwave after Kenyan Court freezes fintech’s bank accounts

By Kanika Saigal
Posted on Thursday, 7 July 2022 15:06, updated on Friday, 8 July 2022 16:59

The Flutterwave Inc. booth at the Africa Tech Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, 23 February 2022. © Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty

A Kenyan High Court has frozen a number of bank accounts belonging Nigerian fintech giant Flutterwave on Wednesday, following allegations of money laundering from the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) of Kenya.

Other companies effected include Boxtrip Travel and Tours, Bagtrip Travel, Elivalat Fintech, Adguru Technology, Hupesi Solutions, Cruz Ride Auto and Simon Karanja Ngige, who is listed as a director of Cruz.

The accounts – held in Guaranty Trust Bank, Equity Bank and Ecobank – concern around Ksh6.7bn ($56.7m) of deposits across 56 accounts in total. 52 of the accounts are alleged to belong to Flutterwave.

According to local media reports, the ARA found that Flutterwave concealed the nature of its business by allegedly providing a payment service platform without authorization from the Central Bank of Kenya – a requirement under section 12 of the national payment system act.

Instead, the ARA believes that the accounts may have been used as conduits for money laundering in the guise of providing merchant services.

In response to the allegations, Flutterwave issued this statement: “Claims of financial improprieties involving the company in Kenya are entirely false, and we have the records to verify this.

“We are a financial technology company that maintains the highest regulatory standards in our operations. Our Anti-money laundering (AML) practices and operations are regularly audited by one of the Big four firms. We remain proactive in our engagements with regulatory bodies to continue to stay compliant.”

Latest allegations

The news is the latest in a series of allegations to hit Flutterwave in recent months, which centre around the questionable business and personal practices of one of the fintech’s founders and current CEO, Olugbenga Agboola.

A recent investigation published in April this year into the fintech company by journalist David Hundeyin, alleged a phantom co-founder identity, insider trading, employee stock option fraud, company negligence, sexual harassment, and workplace bullying.

“The Flutterwave story is mind-blowing,” says Hundeyin in an interview with The Africa Report.

“But this is just the tip of the iceberg: no doubt will other stories of fraud and misconduct continue to emerge out of the Nigerian fintech landscape – it’s only a matter of time. On the outside, Nigerian fintech is an attractive prospect, so a lot of money is flowing into the sector indiscriminately. But we are due for a correction soon,” he says.

Agboola addressed the claims in an email to employees a week later, stating that “the fact that the allegations of financial impropriety, conflict of interest and sexual harassment have been proved false or have already been reported, investigated and addressed by management matters less to me than the reality that these claims may have shaken your confidence in the company.

“As founder and CEO, it is my responsibility to address the concerns you may have, and this will be a priority for me moving forward.”

In February this year, Flutterwave raised $250m in Series D funding, led by Tiger Global, tripling the company’s value to $3bn.

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