Kenya Freezes Sh6.2Billion Linked to Nigerian Tech Firm Flutterwave

Kenya Freezes Sh6.2Billion Linked to Nigerian Tech Firm Flutterwave (News Central TV)

A Kenyan High Court has frozen over Sh6.2 billion in 62 bank accounts belonging to Nigerian start-up Flutterwave and four Kenyans over concerns that they were proceeds of card fraud and money laundering.

The court granted Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) to block transfers or withdrawals, pending the filing of a petition to have the money in billions in Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Equity, EcoBank, KCB and Co-operative Bank accounts forfeited to the government.

ARA said in court filings that their findings revealed the cash was wired in the guise of payments for goods and services.

“That the 1st Respondent’s bank accounts received billions in a suspected scheme of money laundering and the same deposited in different bank accounts in an attempt to conceal or disguise the nature, source, location, disposition or movement of the said funds,” said ARA.

“The transactions were done using cards issued by the same bank, at the same point, on the same day, raising suspicion of card fraud.”

According to the investigators, Flutterwave accounts had Sh5.17 billion in 29 accounts at GTB, Equity and Eco Bank in Kenya shillings, US dollars, Euros and Sterling pounds.

Flutterwave says on its website that it provides payment technology for merchants, and processes payments on the Web, mobiles, ATM, and point of sale worldwide.

The High Court has also frozen Sh436 million in Bagtrip Travels Ltd accounts and Sh467.1 million belonging to Boxtrip Travels and Tours.

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

An account under Simon Karanja Ngige, who is listed as a director of Cruz Ride Auto Ltd, has Sh14 million.

Court filings 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 with an office on 1323 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco.

David Mouko Elizaphan Omaanya, a Kenyan is also a director but has no shares. The Nigerian firm was founded in 2018 by Olugbenga Agboola and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji.

The court heard that Flutterwave received Sh12.4 billion between November 2020 and this year in a single account at Equity Bank, reflecting the outsized billions handled by the start-up.

The funds from the Equity account were later transferred to Rem X Ltd, which is owned by Nehikhare Eghosasere and Demuren Olufemi Olukunmi.

Rem X Ltd is at the centre of a separate money-laundering suit, which saw the court freeze Sh5.6 billion in accounts in April.

ARA says Boxtrip Travel and Tours, registered by Enyioma Olufemi Madubuike, a Nigerian, received Sh467.1 million in dollars from Flutterwave Payments technology ltd in two days on April 27, and 28 this year.

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