The Kenya government, through the Asset Recovery Agency, has dropped charges against Kora, the Nigeria-based payments infrastructure company that had been accused of money laundering and card fraud last July,
In new court documents published towards in mid October 2022, Kenya’s Asset Recovery Agency filed a notice of withdrawal at the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division.
In the document drawn and filed on October 19, 2022 by state counsel Stephen Githinji on behalf of Kenya’s Asset Recovery Agency director, the agency said that it had withdrawn its suit in its entirety.
In a further document issued by the Kenyan Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) earlier this week (whose screenshot is published below), the agency clears Kora of any wrongdoing in the ARA application.
“Please note that investigations are now finalised. I would like to confirm that allegations of money laundering and card fraud against [Kora] were not established. Please treat this communication as final” part of the statement from the DCI reads. In the lawsuit, Kora was represented by Wetangula, Adan and Company Advocates, the law firm associated with Moses Wetangula, now the Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya.
“Kora has always maintained its innocence in this matter and we are glad that finally the ARA and the DCI have dropped all charges and ratified Kora. We’d also like to commend both agencies for their professionalism and thoroughness in seeing this investigation to the conclusive end,” says Gideon Orovwiroro, Kora’s Chief Operations Officer.
“Kora acknowledges the potential Kenya presents as we pursue our mission to make it easy for global businesses to accept payments in Africa, and for African businesses to accept global payments. We are delighted to get back to building the most robust payment product on the African continent. We have some exciting announcements coming soon, including multi-currency bank account products for African businesses. This will empower merchants to have bank accounts in GBP, EUR, US$ and other in-demand currencies. Kora is excited about this development as it is further proof of its commitment to enrich the quality of merchants’ payments and build more meaningful financial products.”
In mid July this year, the High Court froze the accounts of Kora and another Nigerian fintech firm, Kandon Technologies, over allegations of siphoning Kshs 6 billion (about $51 million) into the country. High Court judge Esther Maina issued the orders in two separate suits filed by the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA).
The court froze $249,990 (Kshs 29.5 million) belonging to Kora’s account with Equity Bank, while Kandon Technologies had its $126,841 (Kshs 15 million) in two accounts at UBA bank frozen. According to the ruling, both companies were barred from withdrawing or transferring cash in the stated accounts for six months to enable ARA to complete investigations into the allegations.
ARA alleged that Kora (which operates the KoraPay brand) and Kandon (both backed by Techstars) were linked to five other Nigerian firms and a Kenyan businessman whose 62 bank accounts with over Kshs 6 billion were frozen last week over allegations of engaging in card fraud and international money laundering. Another Nigerian fintech named by ARA in the matter was Flutterwave.