Kora debunks money laundering allegations in Kenya

Kora has denied the allegations that it was involved in a money laundering scheme in Kenya.

Kora debunks money laundering allegations in Kenya
Kora is a Nigerian payment infrastructure company. Credit: Kora

Kora [Korapay Technologies Ltd] has denied the allegations that it was involved in a money laundering scheme in Kenya.

A Kenyan High Court on July 14 froze the accounts of Kora and another Nigerian fintech company, Kandon Technologies Limited, for allegedly siphoning Sh6 billion (~$51 million) into the country. Lady Justice Esther Maina issued the orders in two separate suits filed by the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA).

The court froze $249,990 (Sh29.5 million) belonging to Kora's account with Equity Bank, while Kandon Technologies Ltd had its $126,841 (Sh15 million) in two accounts at UBA bank frozen. According to the ruling, both companies will not withdraw or transfer money in the stated accounts for six months so that ARA can complete investigations into the allegations.

"We are confident that the Kenyan courts will come to see that the accusations against us are not only wholly baseless but borderline malicious," ‘Gbenga Onalaja, Kora's Head of Marketing and Comms said in a statement. "As part of the capital requirements from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) for obtaining a payment service provider and remittance operator license (PDF Pg. 720), Kora deposited the sum of $250,000 in its freshly opened bank account. In line with CBK requirements, this amount was left untouched pending the granting of our license."

ARA alleged that Kora and Kandon (both backed by Techstars) are linked to five other Nigerian firms and a Kenyan businessman whose 62 bank accounts with over Sh6 billion were frozen last week over allegations that they are engaged in card fraud and international money laundering. Flutterwave—one of the companies—have since denied the allegations.  

"The allegations are politically motivated"

Olugbenga "GB" Agboola, Flutterwave's co-Founder and CEO previously told Peoples Gazette that the allegations are politically motivated. "Why are Nigerian companies in Kenya being targeted by Kenya ARA?" GB said. "This is happening near their election time."

Although Kandon's co-founder, Wole Ayodele is yet to respond to Benjamindada.com's request for comments, its representative described the court order as "witch hunting". "I believe we are going to be cleared because we have done nothing wrong," the rep told TechCabal.

Founded in 2019, Kandon (formerly Fliqpay) is a liquidity management company. It was registered two years ago in Canada and it expanded into Kenya in February 2021.

Kora's Kenyan and global expansion journey

In 2021, Kora expanded its operations to Kenya. Within the same year, the company processed over $1.5 billion in transaction volume in only two African countries—Nigeria and Kenya. "We plan to continue our engagement with Kenyan regulators to resolve this matter as Kenya remains a crucial component of our African ambitions," the statement added.

Founded in 2018 by Dickson Nsofor and Bryan Uyanwune, Kora was built to help Africans in the diaspora make remittances into the continent. However, the company pivoted to build a robust payment infrastructure that is enabling both local and foreign businesses to process payments in and out of Africa. "We started with remittances but we figured out that if we can simplify payment within Africa as well, it will build wealth for the continent," Gideon Orovwiroro, Chief Operations Officer at Kora told Benjamindada.com in a previous interview.

Currently, companies like GiG, Juice Africa, dLocal, and PayFuture already use Kora's bouquet of products to power their African operations. The company recently expanded into the United Kingdom through a partnership with the municipal government of Birmingham.