Flutterwave, an African fintech company, has been cleared in Kenya following the decision of the high court to allow the country’s Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to drop the remaining case against the payment firm. This decision significantly relieves Flutterwave, seeking a license for payment service providers and remittances from the Central Bank of Kenya. Last year, the company was flagged for operating without this license. Flutterwave’s expansion efforts in Kenya are likely to benefit from this positive outcome.
Initially filed last year, the ARA withdrew its lawsuit because further investigations revealed no evidence of Flutterwave’s involvement in illegal activities such as money laundering and fraud. In his ruling today, the judge permitted the withdrawal of the case, remarking on the agency’s initial insistence on the case’s validity despite a lack of complete evidence.
In July, the judge had rejected a previous request from the ARA to drop the case, instructing the agency’s director and the lead investigator to provide detailed explanations for the withdrawal. The judge questioned the ARA’s sudden lack of evidence against Flutterwave after presenting substantial documentation, including bank statements, suggesting the company’s involvement in financial crimes.
The judge criticized the ARA for its hasty legal action before concluding its investigations, labelling the move as “inappropriate, negligent, reckless, and absurd.” He stipulated that any future liabilities arising from this case would not be the responsibility of the Kenyan government or the public funds but would instead be borne by the ARA’s director and the investigator, given the flawed nature of the investigation and legal proceedings.
As a result of this decision, Kenya will unfreeze $3 million previously inaccessible to Flutterwave and its associates, Adguru and Hupesi Solutions. This follows the closure of an initial case in March, where $52.5 million was released after the ARA officially withdrew that case.