- A Kenyan judge has declined the motion by the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to withdraw its case against Flutterwave.
- The judge questioned why the agency was withdrawing the case after presenting the court with evidence proving wrongdoing on Flutterwave's end.
- The judge will only withdraw the case when the ARA CEO or a high-ranking official signs an affidavit that there's no evidence to keep the case going.
Judge Nixon Sifuna of the Kenyan High Court in Nairobi Kenya, has declined a motion by Kenya's anti-graft agency, ARA to withdraw its case against African fintech, Flutterwave.
He said funds in Flutterwave accounts earlier suspected by the ARA to be proceeds of crime will remain frozen.
According to court documents seen in this tweet, the judge pointed out that the ARA presented the court with volumes of documents to prove that it had evidence the millions of dollars in the Flutterwave accounts were gotten illegally.
"What about the volumes of documents that accompanied the suit at the time of filing? What about the said Corporal Nakitare, on oath in his affidavit stated he had over a period of time collected, and which is on the court file hitherto in five volumes" the judge pointed out.
The judge also said agencies like the ARA should investigate and gather evidence before they file charges so that the cases are followed to their logical conclusions and the truth is known to the Kenyan populace.
He added that filing cases and suddenly withdrawing them erodes the trust in the agency.
The case will only be withdrawn after the ARA's CEO or a high-ranking officer swears an affidavit that there's genuinely no evidence. The sworn affidavit will be confirmed on July 27, 2023, while Flutterwave accounts remain frozen.
The origin of Flutterwave's troubles in Kenya
Flutterwave's Kenya troubles started in July 2022 when the ARA accused the fintech unicorn of fraud and money laundering. As a result, $52 million in accounts linked to Flutterwave and six other companies, which were recipients of wire transfers from Flutterwave were frozen.
The ARA said Flutterwave accounts received "received billions (millions in USD) in a suspected scheme of money laundering and the same deposited in different bank accounts in an attempt to conceal or disguise the nature, source, location, disposition or movement of the said funds.”
Flutterwave however, denied the charge, alleging that it was a witch hunt and it was conducting its own investigation.
Two months later, a Kenyan high court froze another $3.3 million belonging to Flutterwave. The money was in two United Bank for Africa (UBA) accounts, one Access Bank account, and 19 mobile money accounts.
However, by February 27, 2023, a Kenyan court ordered the release of the $52 million frozen in July 2022. This is because ARA filed for the case to be withdrawn in December 2022.
It is important to note, however, that the $3.3 million that was frozen in August 2022 was not ordered to be released as it is a different case.
There was nothing about the progress of the case until June 2023 when a court in Nairobi Kenya, froze another 45 bank accounts belonging to Fluttewave.
This time the accounts were frozen because of a petition by Morris Ebitimi Joseph, on behalf of 2,468 investors who claim they were scammed by 86 Football Technology Ltd (86FB, 86W, and 86Z), a Ponzi scheme that crashed in April 2022. The investors believed Flutterwave colluded with 86FB to defraud them of $12 million.
Now that a judge has declined to close Flutterwave's case from July and August 2022, the unicorn now has three open cases in Kenya.