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Flutterwave: Nigerian company in dirty cash probe not registered, says CBK

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) says Flutterwave is not registered to operate in the country, complicating matters further for the Nigerian fintech company currently at the centre of a money laundering investigation.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge yesterday said the firm does not have the regulator's authorisation to provide remittance or money transfer services. This is despite the fact that Flutterwave has been in operation in Kenya since 2018. 

"Flutterwave is not licensed to operate as a remittance provider or for that matter as a payment service provider in Kenya," said Dr Njoroge.

"They are not licensed to operate and, therefore, they should not be operating." 

Dr Njoroge's comments come in the wake of a multi-billion-shilling investigation into money laundering that saw the ARA freeze dozens of accounts in three banks containing over Sh4.7 billion transacted through Flutterwave. ARA sought the preservation orders on July 1 this year against 29 bank accounts held at Guaranty Bank, Equity Bank (17) and Ecobank (six), pending investigations.

Flutterwave has been named the first respondent in the case alongside several firms, including Boxtrip Travel and Tours Ltd, Bagtrip Travels Ltd, Elivalat Fintech Ltd, Adguru Technology Ltd, Hupesi Solutions, Cruz Ride Auto Ltd and an individual, Simon Karanja Ngige.

In a statement after ARA launched investigations, Flutterwave said it maintains the highest regulatory standards in its operations and its anti-money laundering practices are audited regularly by one of the big four firms.

"Through our financial institution partners, we collect and pay on behalf of merchants and corporate entities," said the firm.

"In the process, we earn our fees through a transaction charge, records of which are available and can be verified. By facilitating payments for the biggest organisations in the world and everyday business, we process significantly large volumes of money and contribute to growing the economy."