Flutterwave woes: Kenyan Court freezes company’s US$50 million

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  • The High Court has frozen more than US$50 million (KShs 6.2 billion) in 62 bank accounts belonging to Nigerian start-up Flutterwave and four Kenyans.
  • Flutterwave says that it gives merchants payment technology and processes payments made on the Web, mobiles, ATMs, and at points of sale around the world
  • ARA thinks that money was sent from different countries to local bank accounts owned by Flutterwave

The High Court has frozen more than US$50 million (KShs 6.2 billion) in 62 bank accounts belonging to Nigerian start-up Flutterwave and four Kenyans.

The court ruling comes on the suspicion that the money was proceeds of fraud and money laundering.

KCB, Equity Bank, Co-operative, EcoBank and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) are the banks where the accounts of the company and the four Kenyans were frozen. Kenya’s Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) asked the court to stop the money from being moved or taken out until the government filed a petition to get the money back.

In court documents, the agency said that their investigations showed that the money was sent as payments for goods and services.

“That the 1st Respondent’s bank accounts received billions as part of a suspected scheme to launder money, and that the same billions were deposited in different bank accounts in an attempt to hide or disguise the nature, source, location, use, or movement of the said funds,” said ARA.

“The transactions were done at the same place and time on the same day with cards from the same bank. This makes me suspicious of card fraud.”

Investigators found that Sh5.17 billion in Kenyan shillings, US dollars, Euros, and Sterling pounds was in 29 accounts at GTB, Equity, and Eco Bank.

On its website, Nigerian start-up Flutterwave says that it gives merchants payment technology and processes payments made on the Web, mobiles, ATMs, and at points of sale around the world.

The High Court has also frozen the accounts of Boxtrip Travels and Tours and Bagtrip Travels Ltd, which hold a total of Sh467.1 million and Sh436 million, respectively.

The other accounts belong to Elivalat Fintech Ltd. (Sh1.16 million), Hupesi Solutions (Sh1.6 million), and Cruz Ride Auto Ltd. (Sh2.4 million).

Simon Karanja Ngige is listed as a director of Cruz Ride Auto Ltd. He has Sh14 million in an account under his name.

ARA thinks that money was sent from different countries to local bank accounts owned by Flutterwave. The money was then sent to the six companies. The agency wants to know where the money that was sent to Flutterwave came from.

Court documents show that Flutterwave Payments Technology ltd is owned by Nigerians Olugbenga Agboola, Adeleke Christopher, Iynoluwa Samuel, and Flutterwave Inc, which is registered in the United States and has an office at 1323 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco.

David Mouko Elizaphan Omaanya, a Kenyan, is also a director, but he doesn’t own any shares. Olugbenga Agboola and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji started the Nigerian company in 2018.

The court heard that between November 2020 and this year, Flutterwave put Sh12.4 billion into a single account at Equity Bank. This shows how much money the start-up was able to handle.

Later, the money from the Equity account was sent to Rem X Ltd, which Nehikhare Eghosasere and Demuren Olufemi Olukunmi own.

Flutterwave CEO, Olugbenga Agboola, aka GB. Flutterwave is now under investigation in Kenya over suspicious transactions. [Photo/Forbes]
Rem X Ltd is involved in a separate case of money laundering. In April, the court froze Sh5.6 billion in accounts.

ARA says that on April 27 and 28, this year, Nigerian Enyioma Olufemi Madubuike, who owns Boxtrip Travel and Tours, got US$467,1 million from Flutterwave Payments technology ltd.

ARA said that there were no explanations or documents to back up the transactions, so they think that the accounts were used to move illegal cash.

“Further investigations established that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds are the proceeds of crime obtained by the respondent from illegal sources and that they need to be kept until an intended forfeiture application is filed and heard,” the agency wrote.

Between April 28 and May 6, Flutterwave and Rainbow technology Solutions gave Sh436 million to Tofunmi Taiwo Soyemi’s Bagtrip Travels ltd.

The agency says that Jackson Mwangi Kamenju, a Kenyan, Palliser ltd, and Tiwari Simon Adrian, both of whom work for Elivalat Fintech Ltd, got US$320,800,000 in dollars between November 4, 2020, and April 14, this year. At the time the account was frozen, there was Sh1.16 million in it.

Flutterwave Payments gave Edguru Technology Ltd. Sh14.1 billion, but only Sh99.8 million has been frozen. ARA says that Adeze Chinenye, a Nigerian, and Caroline Wanjiku Muchina, a Kenyan, are in charge of it.

A total of Sh143.3 million was given to a company called Hupesi Solutions, which is owned by a Kenyan named Festus Mumo Mutuku.

Out of the total amount, Sh54.4 million went to Flutterwave Payments and Sh45.6 million went to GC Natural PL.

The account only has Sh1.6 million in it, and a government agency says that transactions were made in chunks of less than Sh1 million to avoid having to report to the CBK.

According to a local publication, Cruz Ride Auto Ltd, which is registered as a car dealer, got Sh2.4 million from Flutterwave Payments Technology Ltd on June 6. There was no explanation for the transaction, and Ngige later got the money.

Read: What next after Nigerian Fintech Unicorn, Flutterwave scandal?

I have 10 years of experience in multimedia journalism and I use the skills I have gained over this time to meet and ensure goal-surpassing editorial performance. Africa is my business and development on the continent is my heartbeat. Do you have a development story that has to be told? Reach me at njenga.h@theexchange.africa and we can showcase Africa together.

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