Kenya freezes bank accounts of Nigerian tech firm

 Kenya freezes bank accounts of Nigerian tech firm

A Kenyan court has frozen bank accounts run by a Nigerian online payments’ company amid allegations they are linked to fraud and money-laundering.

Kenya’s Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) said it sought and was granted orders freezing a total of 6.2 billion shillings ($52.5m; £43.9m) in 62 bank accounts belonging to Flutterwave and six other firms.

Flutterwave is a Nigerian company that allows African businesses and their customers to make online payments.

Last year it became the fastest African-led company in Africa to have reached a billion-dollar valuation.

The Kenyan authorities say there was no explanation or supporting documents to support Flutterwave’s transactions in 29 accounts that were spread across three banks.

The accounts contained amounts in Kenyan shillings, US dollars, euros and pound sterling.

Flutterwave is also accused of not having authorisation from Kenya’s Central Bank to provide payment services.

“Further investigations established that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds are proceeds of crime obtained from illegitimate sources by the respondent which require to be preserved pending the filing and hearing of an intended forfeiture application,” the agency is quoted as having submitted in court.

Flutterwave’s chief executive Gbenga Agboola has reportedly denied the allegations, telling the Nigerian publication Peoples Gazette that the charges could be politically motivated.

“Why are Nigerian companies in Kenya being targeted by Kenya ARA? This is happening near their election time,” he is quoted as saying.

None of the banks have commented on the matter.