The Asset Recovery Agency -ARA has cleared three Nigerian firms, Avalon Offshore Logistics Limited, OIT Africa Limited, and RemX Capital Limited which were linked to Sh 5.7 billion international money laundering.
High court judge Lady Justice E,N Maina on September 7 gave an order restricting the agency from freezing their money citing an affidavit by ARA’s investigator Fredrick Musyoki.
“The money was mainly from foreign jurisdiction and when we summoned the directors, they could not explain their sources which made us believe they are proceeds of crime liable for forfeiture to the State,” Musyoki affidavit read.
A file image of EACC boss Twalib Mbarak and DPP Noordin Haji having a conversation.
The agency had earlier claimed that the firms were owned by two Nigerians and two Kenyans who had registered as directors but are serving as proxies for powerful individuals.
It is not the first time Nigerian firms have been put on spot over money laundering in Kenya. In 2021, the high court ordered that the accounts of two Nigerian fintech startups, Korapay and Kandon technologies frozen with over sh45 million.
The agency had filed a lawsuit in July this year accusing the three firms for laundering money in the country from foreign jurisdictions.
However, the fintech firm denied the allegations saying its anti-laundering money is usually regulated by big firms.
“Claims of financial improprieties involving the company in Kenya are entirely false, and we have the records to verify this. We are a financial technology company that maintains the highest regulatory standards in our operations. Our Anti-money laundering practices and operations are regularly audited by one of the Big four firms,”
Further, the agency had frozen the firm’s account after it secured orders from the court that prevented it from conducting business.
The agency is currently looking into a case where sh 7 billion was found in accounts in several local banks linked to Flutterwave Payment Technology Limited.
The Asset and Recovery agency was formed after the Kenya Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act in 2009 was enacted to guard against money laundering processes and other financial crimes
The agency is now tasked with identifying, tracing, freezing, seizing and confiscating crime and financial proceeds in Kenya.
Flutterwave responds to allegations of money laundering by ARA on Thursday, July 7, 2022.