The High Court of Kenya has ordered the Assets Recovery Agency to release funds belonging to fintech giant Flutterwave. The funds have been frozen since 2022 following the laundering accusations in 2020.
Anti-Corruption High Court Judge Nixon Sifuna has now allowed the applications filed by Flutterwave and Hupez Solutions seeking the release of the funds after ARA withdrew a money laundering suit against them.
“In consequence therefore, I without hesitation hereby allow both Applications (by the companies) to the extent that the preservation/freeze orders hitherto subsisting are hereby discharged and the said funds be released to the Respondents forthwith, unless they are otherwise the subject of any other or different preservation/freeze orders, other than the ones issued by this Court on August 19, 2022,” Justice Sifuna ruled.
The two companies had been charged alongside Adguru Technologies Limited. More than $37 million was frozen. The funds spread in over 60 bank accounts and Safaricom paybill numbers were in the name of the three firms.
After months of litigation, ARA was allowed to withdraw the suit in November, 2023. Despite that withdrawal, the agency opposed to release the frozen money.
While delivering the ruling, Justice Sifuna noted that this is despite the agency voluntarily withdrawing the forfeiture suit from the companies and consequently the frozen funds from forfeiture.
The Judge condemned the action, saying it was “not only ironical, but also pretentious, mischievous and insincere”, he added, ” Such a litigational facade or decoy is inappropriate, an abuse of the court process and an attempt at squandering the scarce judicial time.”
He stated that when a party withdraws a suit, it is presumed to know the logical and foreseeable consequences of such withdrawal.