Kenya freezes $52m linked to Nigerian start-up Flutterwave
The High Court in Kenya has frozen more than Ksh6.2 billion ($52.5 million) spread in 62 bank accounts belonging to Nigerian start-up Flutterwave and four Kenyans on fears they are proceeds of card fraud and money laundering.
The billions in Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Equity, EcoBank, KCB and Co-operative Bank accounts were frozen after the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) applied to block the transfer or withdrawal, pending the filing of a petition to have the money forfeited to the government.
The agency said in court filings that their investigations 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 Ksh5.17 billion ($43.7 million) 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 Ksh467.1 million ($3.9 million) belonging to Boxtrip Travels and Tours and Ksh436 million ($3.6 million) in Bagtrip Travels Ltd accounts.
The other accounts include Elivalat Fintech Ltd (Ksh1.16 million/ $9,824), Hupesi Solutions (Ksh1.6 million/ $13,551), Cruz Ride Auto Ltd (Ksh2.4 million/ $20,326).
An account under Simon Karanja Ngige, who is listed as a director of Cruz Ride Auto Ltd, has Ksh14 million ($118,573).
ARA reckons that funds were wired to local bank accounts owned by Flutterwave from multiple countries then wired to the six companies. The agency is questioning the source of cash sent to Flutterwave.