Nairobi High Court has frozen 8 billion shillings in 52 bank accounts of Nigerian and Kenyan fintech businessmen amid suspicions the funds were linked to crime and online scam.p>
Per orders issued yesterday by Judge Esther Maina, the money will be deposited with Equity Bank, KCB Bank, of Guaranty Bank and Eco Bank, with sources of money believed to be a criminal enterprise.
The freeze orders were against Flutterwave Payment Technology Limited, Boxtrip Travel and Tours Limited, Bagtrip Travels Limited, Elivalat Fintech Limited, Adguru Technology Limited, Hupesi Solutions, Cruz Ride Auto Limited and Mr Simon Karanja Ngige. The companies’ directors are Kenyan, Nigerian and British citizens.
The orders stemmed from a foreclosure lawsuit brought by the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA), which the companies jointly manage alleged to have been involved in a money-laundering scheme with Mr. Ngige.
Court documents indicate that ARA investigations identified the key player in the alleged money- Das Money laundering scheme was Flutterwave Payment Technology as it transferred funds to other companies after receiving funds from foreign companies.
“Flutterwave’s bank account operations had suspicious activity where funds could received from certain foreign entities that have aroused suspicion. The funds were then transferred to linked accounts, as opposed to being settled with merchants,” the court filings said. The company was registered in Kenya in February 2017 and the directors were four Nigerians, although one Kenyan was later added to the board of directors. The Kenyan’s name is Mouko David Elizaphan Omaanya.
The company was involved in transferring huge sums of US dollars to Kenyan banks and transferring them to several locally registered companies with a common Property to transfer and suspicious addresses.
Investigations revealed that Flutterwave operates 29 bank accounts with Guaranty Trust Bank, 17 accounts with Equity Bank and six accounts with Ecobank.
Billions of shillings received
Mr Isaac Nakitare, an investigator, told the court that Flutterwave’s accounts received billions of shillings in an alleged money laundering scheme and the same was deposited in different bank accounts. Some of the funds were transferred to fixed deposit accounts, he said.
“ARA conducted investigations into the alleged suspect funds and found that Flutterwave allegedly concealed the nature of the business provision a payment services platform (fintech) without authorization from the Central Bank of Kenya,” the investigator said.
He further explained that the accounts were used as a channel for money laundering under the guise of providing them from merchant services.
Further investigation revealed that on May 10, 2021, the company received 185 online card payments with the same sort code. The transactions were made using cards issued by the same bank at the same time on the same day, raising suspicions of card fraud.
He added that between 2020 and In 2022 the company’s bank account received Sh12 billion and the funds were either transferred to Remx Ltd while the remainder was placed in a fixed deposit account.