BY SAM ALFAN.
The High Court has frozen more than Sh400 million belonging to Nigerian firm Flutterwave Payment Technology Ltd and two other companies over links to card fraud.
Justice Grace Nzioka froze allowed the freezing of the Sh400.6 million belonging to Flutterwave, Hupesi Solutions and Adguru Technology Ltd, pending application by Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).
ARA said in the application that the money in United Bank of Africa, Access Bank and several Safaricom Paybill numbers are conduits of money laundering, in the guise of providing merchant services.
The agency says it conducted investigations and established that the bank accounts received millions of shillings whose source is suspected to be money laundering and card fraud.
Vacation Judge Nzioka barred the companies from withdrawing, transferring of dealing with the money, pending ARA’s probe. She directed ARA to serve the companies with the court documents ahead of the mention of the case on November 21.
“That unless the honourable court grants the orders sought in this application, the funds in the bank account may be transferred or spent rendering the application nugatory,” ARA said in the petition.
ARA says debits amounting to Sh136 million, which included chargebacks, reversals and refunds an indication of card fraud. Another account would be used to convert dollars into shillings, in a scheme of layering and intermingling.
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.
“A preservation order be and is hereby issued prohibiting 1st respondent ( Flutterwave Payment Technology Ltd) or his agents or representative from transacting, withdrawing, transferring ,using any other dealings in respect to Sh 29,123,339.25 held in account at Access Bank,” ruled Justice Nzioka.
The agency investigating officer corporal Isaack Nakitare told the Anti-corruption court that the investigation reviewed that Flutterwave Payment Technology Ltd account held at UBA bank and a closing balance of Sh 110,182,608.99 when the agency obtained the warrant to investigate.
According to his analysis the bank account received Sh 246,307,037.47 from December 7th 2017 to July 7th 2022 as credits.
He told the court that out of the total credit of Sh 246,307,037.47 first three large transactions amounting to Sh 231,240,500 are from their USD account to Kenya shillings account pointing into a scheme of layering and intermingling the funds.
He further added that his investigations revealed that the bank account had received total credits of USD 35,233,028.52. He further stated that at the time of obtaining freezing orders,the bank account had a balance of USD 556 803.98.
The above were mostly card transactions some of which with repeated card transaction code,an indication of card fraud.
The court also heard that there were several chargeback and refund/ reversal transactions amounting to USD 1,020,302.41.
“These were 1424 transactions out of a total of 1796 debit transactions which demonstrates a case of card fraud,” the investigator stated.
Some of the recipients of the funds include Bloompoint tech platforms, Flutterwaves settlement, Flutterwaves payment tech solutions, Flutterwaves inc, Remx Ltd among others.