Court freezes another Sh400.6m in banks, M-Pesa linked to Flutterwave

The Nigerians said in a petition that they were swindled of billions of shillings through a sports betting platform that used Flutterwave to process the payments. PHOTO | POOL

High Court has frozen another Sh400.6 million in three bank accounts and 19 Safaricom M-Pesa paybill numbers  belonging to Nigerian start-up Flutterwave linked to card fraud and money laundering.

The millions held in two accounts at UBA Bank, one account at Access Bank and 19 M-Pesa paybills were frozen after the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) applied to block the transfer or withdrawal, pending the filing of a petition to have the money forfeited to the government.

The amounts frozen include Sh110 million in UBA account, another US $ 556,622 (Sh66.7 million), Sh29.1 million in Access Bank and Sh68 million, Sh112 million and Sh14.5 million in a total of 19 Safaricom Paybill numbers.

Justice Grace Nzioka barred the companies from withdrawing, transferring or dealing with the money, pending ARA’s probe.

“A preservation order be and is hereby issued prohibiting 1st respondent or his agents or representative from transacting, withdrawing, transferring, using any other dealings in respect to the money held in the account,” ruled  Justice Nzioka.

The agency said in court filings that the bank accounts received millions of shillings whose source is suspected to be money laundering and card fraud.

The freezing order comes barely two months after more than Sh6.2 billion spread in 62 bank accounts belonging to the Flutterwave and four Kenyans were also seized on similar grounds.

The transactions in the earlier case were done using cards issued by the same bank, at the same point, on the same day, raising suspicion of card fraud.

In the latest case, ARA said debits amounting to Sh136 million, which included chargebacks, reversals and refunds are an indication of card fraud.

Another account was used to convert dollars into shillings, in a scheme of layering and intermingling.

Flutterwave Payments Technology ltd is owned by Nigerians Olugbenga Agboola, Adeleke Christopher, Iynoluwa Samuel and Flutterwave Inc which is registered in the United States with an office on 1323 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco.

A Kenyan-- David Mouko Elizaphan Omaanya-- is also a director but has zero shares. The Nigerian firm was founded in 2018 by Olugbenga Agboola and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji.

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