Yesterday, the Kenyan Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) formally withdrew its money laundering allegations against African fintech unicorn, Flutterwave. This implies that the KSh6.6 billion (~$51 million) that was frozen in the company's account will now be released.
Recall that earlier this month, co-founder and CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola was in Kenya amidst efforts to get access to the funds which were frozen seven months ago. He also was in the East African country to meet with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the regulatory authority that declared Flutterwave as an unlicensed fintech company in the country.
Flutterwave's CEO was cited by local media saying that "CBK invited us in December to reapply for a money remittance and payments service provider licenses." Agboola's trip to Kenya also coincided with the dismissal of an application from over 2,000 Nigerians—who sought a share of the frozen Sh6.6 billion—by the High Court, according to Business Daily.
With the fintech company's licensing underway and the unfreezing of the funds, Cathy Kinyua, Flutterwave's Regional Expansions and Partnerships Manager, East Africa, said, "this update should reassure our partners and stakeholders across the continent that we have complied with all regulations and laws in Kenya, as well as all other markets where we operate".
"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," Agboola added.
Flutterwave has since instituted a number of changes over the past year to ensure all internal governance structures are best-in-class, according to a statement shared with Benjamindada.com. It has continued to take steps to strengthen its risk and governance and recently hired Emmanuel Efenure from Mastercard, as VP and Head of Risk for Africa.
These steps are in addition to existing arrangements with the "big four companies" that support independent internal audit programs in support of the efforts done internally by the Flutterwave team. According to the statement, all company policies are subject to annual reviews conducted by third-party audit firms in the areas of AML/CFT, data privacy, information security, and finance.