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Kenya freezes $52 million linked to Flutterwave over money laundering claims

REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo
Funds received. But where do they come from?
  • Faustine Ngila
By Faustine Ngila

East Africa 4IR Correspondent

Published Last updated

Flutterwave’s controversy seems to never end. On July 7, it had to deny reports linking it to a $52 million money laundering ring in Kenya. The money is claimed to have been hidden in 62 bank accounts but was frozen.

In a statement on its website, the company distanced itself from the alleged crime, saying it maintains high regulatory standards and is audited by an unnamed reputable company.

“Our anti-money laundering 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,” the statement reads.

Through filings in a Nairobi high court, Kenya’s Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) said that the Nigerian unicorn was among seven firms suspected to have been used as conduits for card fraud in banks in the guise of providing merchant services.

ARA explained that there was a deliberate attempt to conceal the source, location, disposition and movement of the funds which were wired to local bank accounts owned by Flutterwave from multiple countries then sent to the other six companies.

Flutterwave’s CEO has been under fire for allegations of harrassment and fraud

In April this year, Clara Wanjiku, a former staffer at Flutterwave accused the company’s chief executive Olugbenga Agboola of bullying, harassment and fraud. She said she sued the company for wasting her time and mishandling her private data.

“We tried to resolve this amicably, but it was impossible. They asked for $900,000 to quash the lawsuit. We refused because we didn’t believe $900,000 in damages represented the cost of the alleged negligence,” Agboola would later respond.

Two years ago, Wanjiku claimed her mobile number was used as the contact person in a fraud that involved Flutterwave where it allegedly processed payments for non-existent sex parties in Thika, a 35-minute drive from Nairobi.  Participants were required to pay via Flutterwave to participate.

Flutterwave employees have previously alleged that the company encourages a toxic office culture of impunity among senior personnel and behavior that includes bullying and inappropriate relationships between managers and junior staff.

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