Flutterwave, the fintech startup, has successfully navigated legal challenges in Kenya as the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) dropped money laundering charges against the company. The ARA had frozen over $55 million of Flutterwave’s funds in 2022, alleging involvement in fraud and money laundering.
In July 2023, the Assets Recovery Agency sought court permission to dismiss the money laundering charges, but the judge denied the request, citing a lack of supporting evidence. However, by November 2023, the charges were eventually dropped, allowing Flutterwave to regain access to the remaining $3 million of its capital.
Flutterwave expressed relief in a statement, noting the official withdrawal of the ARA’s suit, marking the end of scrutiny on Flutterwave Payments Technology Limited Kenya’s bank accounts.
The legal battle had its complexities, with the ARA initially freezing the funds and withdrawing its first case in March 2023, allowing Flutterwave to recover most of its money. However, the remaining amount faced further challenges, with objections from the ARA, leading to criticism from the High Court Judge, Nixon Sifuna, in January 2024.
Despite the ARA admitting a lack of evidence of fraud on Flutterwave’s part, the agency initially intended to retain the funds. Judge Sifuna criticised this approach as a “litigation gimmick,” deeming it inappropriate and an abuse of court procedure.
With the funds now returned, Flutterwave is set to apply for a payments and remittance license in Kenya. Currently lacking authorisation to handle or settle payments in the country, Flutterwave maintains local and international business partnerships, including collaborations with companies like Uber.
Kenya is a crucial market for Flutterwave, along with Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt. The company strategically positions itself with offices in multiple African countries, including Rwanda, Ghana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal. Overcoming the legal hurdles in Kenya allows Flutterwave to continue its operations and pursue further expansion in the region.
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