According to reports, the CEO and co-founder of the Nigerian fintech Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, recently visited Kenya where he sought to convince the country’s monetary authorities to grant the firm access to funds that have been blocked since July 2022. Agboola claimed that his firm had “instituted a number of changes over the past year to ensure all internal governance structures are best-in-class.”

Money Laundering Allegations

More than six months after a Kenyan High Court granted an order to freeze bank accounts belonging to the Nigerian fintech unicorn Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, the co-founder and CEO of the startup, is seeking to convince the Central Bank of Kenya to end the embargo. In addition, Agboola reportedly used his recent trip to the East African state to push for the licensing of his firm.

As previously reported by News, more than 50 Flutterwave bank accounts holding funds equivalent to nearly $60 million were frozen at the behest of the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA). The agency accused Flutterwave of laundering money and of flouting Kenya’s national payment system laws.

However, according to a Business Daily report, the ARA has withdrawn from the court case that won it the freeze order in December 2022. The report added that the ARA’s withdrawal, as well as the recent dismissal of a case brought against Flutterwave by some 2,000 disgruntled Nigerians, raised the startup’s chances of regaining access to the blocked funds.

Meanwhile, in his comments relating to the Kenyan trip, Agboola reportedly said:

CBK invited us in December to reapply for a money remittance and payments service provider licenses. Kenya is the bedrock of mobile money. We have seen the gap and have raised capital to invest here. Without Nairobi, building a global mobile money payments system is not possible.

Concerning allegations that Flutterwave’s Kenyan operations were not sanctioned, Agboola insisted the startup has always sought to comply with the country’s laws. He revealed that the startup was bringing in qualified global experts to help strengthen Flutterwave’s processes.

Fintech Growth and Regulatory Challenges

In another report, Agboola is quoted suggesting that Flutterwave and other Africa-based fintech firms’ accelerated growth often unnerves regulators. This, in turn, leads to increased scrutiny and suspicion.

However, to assuage the concerns of skeptical regulators, Agboola reportedly said the fintech had “instituted a number of changes over the past year to ensure all internal governance structures are best-in-class.” Furthermore, Flutterwave has hired experienced individuals such as Emmanuel Efenure from Mastercard to help strengthen the fintech’s risk and governance, Agboola added.

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Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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