Flutterwave was not hacked and no user lost any funds, says CEO
Contrary to several media reports, Flutterwave's co-founder and CEO, Olugbenga Agboola says the company's account was not hacked and no users' fund was lost.
On Sunday, several media reports said that hackers robbed Flutterwave of over ₦2.9 billion ($6.3 million). According to Techpoint Africa, who first reported the incidence, ₦2,949,557,867 was illegally transferred from the account of the Nigerian fintech company.
Amidst these claims, Yewande Akomolafe-Kalu, Flutterwave's Head of Branding and Storytelling said, "Flutterwave has not been hacked". However, she noted that a merchant's account was compromised but "...no user lost any funds."
"During a routine check of our transaction monitoring system, we identified an unusual trend of transactions on some users' profiles. Our team immediately launched a review (in line with our standard operating procedure), which revealed that some users who had not activated some of our recommended security settings might have been susceptible," Yewande Akomolafe-Kalu, Head of Branding and Storytelling at Flutterwave, said in a statement seen by Benjamindada.com.
According to media reports, Flutterwave is seeking to freeze accounts where some of the money was transferred, and a motion to freeze accounts in 27 financial institutions in Nigeria, including Access Bank, Kuda, Zenith Bank, and OPay, has been filed, per Techpoint Africa.
However, Ms Akomolafe-Kalu said that "...no user lost any funds, and we take pride in the fact that our security measures were able to address the issue before any harm could be done to our users. We collaborate with other financial institutions and law enforcement agencies to keep our ecosystem safe and secure."
This is contrary to a letter sent to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, Lagos, on February 19, 2023, by one Flutterwave lawyer, Albert Onimole, requesting the police assistance to recover the "stolen funds", according to Techpoint Africa's investigations.
This is coming a few days after the Kenyan Assets Recovery Agency formally withdrew its money laundering allegations against Flutterwave, thereby releasing the KSh6.6 billion (~$51 million) that was frozen in the company's account. The Nigeria-founded fintech says it has continued to take steps to strengthen its risk and governance and has recently hired Emmanuel Efenure from Mastercard, as VP and Head of Risk for Africa.
Recall that in May 2022, an online gambling company, 86fb/86z alleged that "[Flutterwave] maliciously froze [its] funds and intends to take the funds as their own and extort [the company] by cooperating with the local police". Flutterwave denied the allegations stating that "some merchants were passing transactions on behalf of 86FB/86Z…without approval or authorisation." According to the fintech, the merchants involved were suspended from using the platform and all funds due to these merchants were settled.
- This is a developing story, it will be updated with more details.
- We edited this report to reflect Flutterwave's official and published statement (March 6, 2023)