Kenyan court freezes 45 Flutterwave-owned accounts  

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June 15, 2023
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5 min read

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Vodacom is introducing full eSIM support for all personal and business customers on all prepaid, top-up, and postpaid package types in South Africa.

Since March 2019, Vodacom has provided eSIM support for a select group of smartwatches.  

Later, it introduced eSIM on several high-end smartphones. But customers had to have a top-up or postpaid contract to use either feature.

The newly launched eSIM service is compatible with all smartphones purchased from Vodacom or another provider in manufacturer-approved regions.The telco warned that some devices purchased outside of South Africa might not be compatible with the Vodacom eSIM due to regional-based locks or how it’s managed from the source location.

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Kenyan court freezes 45  Flutterwave-owned accounts  
  • Nigeria floats the naira
  • Cameroon seizes MTN’s money

Kenyan court freezes 45 Flutterwave-owned accounts

Flutterwave pagr

A Nairobi court has frozen 45 bank accounts and ten mobile money wallets owned by Flutterwave.

Last week, High Court Judge, Alfred Mabeya, ordered the freezing of Flutterwave's accounts in response to a complaint filed by 2,468 Nigerians.

Although the court documents do not state how much money is in the bank accounts and mobile money wallets, the Nigerians involved in the lawsuit estimate the sums to be in the billions.

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The Nigerians alleged that Flutterwave was used to defraud them of $12.04 million (KSh 1.6 billion).

Six local lenders are defendants in this suit. The companies include Safaricom, where Flutterwave manages ten paybill numbers, and five banks: United Bank of Africa, Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Equity Bank, and Ecobank.

Flutterwave has appointed Mahmoud Gitau Jillo Advocates to represent it in the case.

In 2022, the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) froze the accounts of Flutterwave and eight Nigerian companies, including RemX Capital Ltd, Avalon Offshore Logistics Ltd, and Kandon Technologies Ltd., holding KSh 6.2 billion ($52.5 million).

ARA was investigating the companies at the time for potential money laundering because it thought they were moving criminal proceeds and using credit card fraud.

However, the ARA dropped its lawsuit against the businesses in February 2023, allowing them to access the funds.

Sidebar Alert: In an alleged contract breach with RemX Ltd, Hong Kong's Lae Technologies has named Flutterwave and seven other companies as interested parties.

Lae is asking the High Court of Nairobi to freeze several bank accounts because RemX owes it at least KSh 12.2 billion ($88 million).

The CBN floats the naira

A picture of someone counting stacks of money. Used in this instance to depict huge sums of money for stuff like payments. student loans, trade among others

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has formally floated the naira after years of maintaining a rigid peg.

A floating exchange rate currency is one whose value is affected by the supply and demand for other currencies.

In contrast to a floating exchange rate, a fixed exchange rate, also known as a pegged rate, is controlled by the government of the currency in question.

So, floating the naira means that the government no longer controls the naira's value over other currencies.

Despite having record-low foreign exchange reserves, Nigeria has long maintained tight control over its official exchange rate.

Most people could not obtain dollars at those rates, even though the CBN maintained an artificial rate of $1/ ₦‎462.

Now, the official exchange rate falls to ₦‎664/$1.

This news is coming after President Bola Tinubu suspended the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, whose monetary policies had hurt the economy and investors.

In April 2022, the CBN ruled out the possibility of using a clean float approach to managing foreign exchange.

Find out more information here: Nigeria floats the naira as official exchange rate falls to ₦‎664/$1. Here's what you should know

Cameroon seizes MTN’s money

mtn

A Cameroonian court has ordered banks used by the South African MTN Group to transfer funds into escrow.

It follows an escalation of the dispute that had already resulted in the freezing of MTN's access to local accounts.

MTN Cameroon stated that moving the money to an escrow account is unnecessary because it has already been frozen for ten months due to the dispute and that it is risky to the continuation of its business.

The order, dated June 9, 2023, concerns a dispute between First National Bank of South Africa and Cameroonian businessman, Ahmadou Baba Danpullo.

MTN’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Nompilo Morafo, said the involvement of MTN in this matter is "utterly astounding." He stated that it had exhausted all legal options in an attempt to resolve this "bizarre situation."

MTN Group claims it has been singled out in the dispute because South Africa's national pension fund, the Public Investment Corp. Ltd., owns shares in both First National Bank and MTN.

The South African government owns the pension fund and has assets valued at R2.5 trillion ($136 billion). It holds about 17% of MTN.

An increasing number of legal, regulatory, and tax disputes have impacted African wireless carriers, reportedly reducing investor interest in the continent when significant capital investments are needed to meet rising demand.

A controversial tax law caused the Democratic Republic of the Congo to seize the passports of executives at carriers like Orange SA and Vodacom Group in August 2022.

MTN received a $722 million tax bill from Ghana in January 2023, which was later cancelled.

What I'm reading and watching

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Have a terrific Thursday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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