More than 2,000 Nigerian investors have petitioned the Kenyan courts to unfreeze Ksh1.44 billion ($11.8 million) locked in Safaricom and four banks, saying they were swindled in transactions involving Africa-focused payments giant Flutterwave.
The Nigerians said in a petition that they were swindled of billions of shillings through a sports betting platform that used Flutterwave to process the payments.
The 2,468 West Africans now want Ksh1.44 billion ($11.8 million) separated from the Ksh6.6 billion ($54.5 million) frozen in July in 62 bank accounts at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Equity Bank, Ecobank and UBA Bank and in 19 Safaricom paybill numbers under Kenya’s anti-money laundering laws.
The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) obtained orders freezing Ksh5.17 billion in 29 accounts at GTB and the rest in Equity and Ecobank in Kenya shillings, US dollars, euros and Sterling pounds.
The billions are believed to be proceeds of theft, card fraud and money laundering wired in the guise of payments for goods and services.
Morris Ebitimi Joseph, one of the investors, said he and other alleged victims have lodged another case in Nigeria, seeking to recover their money. They have opposed the bid to forfeit the money to the Kenya government, saying part of it belongs to them.
“I believe that the issuance of an order compelling Guaranty Trust Bank, Equity Bank and Ecobank to deposit the sums excluded in the bank account of our advocates, justice shall be served to the 2,468 interested parties who were swindled of their hard-earned money through the scheme,” he said.
The Nigerian says they invested in sports betting through a platform known as 86 football technology.
It was also known as 86FB, 86Z and 86W and the merchants were duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria.
The investors, he said, made deposits in the investment scheme with a promise of better returns from the betting business, which never came to pass. They reckon all was well for about six months when the payments stopped.
Mr Ebitimi says he has done research and discovered that it was a dubious operation and wants to join the case and assist the court in resolving the matter.
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