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Interpol Probes Fintech CEOs For Laundering N128bn in Kenya

Demuren & Nehikhare

May 16, (THEWILL) – The recurrent disturbing news straight out of the financial technology industry calls for great concern. From stories about bullying, intimidation, sabotaging work opportunities to insider trading, fraud, impersonation, inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, the latest infraction is by Eghosasere Nehikhare, founder of Boltpay and CEO OF Multigate limited and Bukunmi Olufemi Demuren, founder and board chairman of Multigate Limited.

The Fintech tycoons who both allegedly have a history of using tax havens to avoid taxes are at the centre of investigations by the Assets Recovery Agency, Kenya and Interpol for a string of suspicious transfers of $221 million (N128 billion) from Nigeria in local currency, which is worth Kenya Sh25 billion. Interpol is seeking to unravel the puzzle behind the laundered money which was wired into Kenya from Nigeria between October and November 2020.

For over two months, the Kenyan authorities have been investigating a string of cash transfers from Nigeria without realizing that they may hold the key to unlocking the whereabouts of Sh25 billion at the centre of local and international money laundering rings. Nehikhare and Demuren who allegedly enjoy the backing of a powerful Kenyan politician and two other prominent Kenyans, wired the cash in US dollars and Euros to Kenyan banks through multiple companies registered locally with shared ownership and suspect addresses.

On April 5, ARA obtained court orders freezing Sh5.6 billion in six bank accounts, unaware that the network of firms and individuals had moved another Sh20 billion through local lenders in one month in 2020. The network of six firms involved in this deal are OIT Africa, Avalon Offshore Logistics, RemX Capital Ltd, RemX Ltd, RemX Investment Partners and Multigate Ltd. They moved the money from Nigeria to Kenya before wiring some of the funds to countries in Europe and Asia. Mutligate and RemX are among companies registered in Kenya, Dubai and Nigeria and which are at the heart of the money transfers. Avalon Offshore Logistics Limited, Oit Africa Limited and RemX Capital Limited are the owners of the accounts deposited with the money and investigators have so far frozen the accounts of the three firms.

Two bank accounts belonging to Avalon Offshore Logistics Limited held at Equity Bank are holding $374,630 (Sh43,408,490) and €3,824.66 (Sh472,809), suspected to be proceeds of crime. OIT Africa’s three bank accounts held at Equity and United Bank for Africa (UBA) are holding a total of $41,715,444 (Sh4,833,568,496), while Remix’s account at UBA is holding $6,648,838 (Sh770,400,859). A court order by Kenyan Justice, Esther Maina has barred the three firms, Avalon Offshore Logistics Limited, OIT Africa and Remix and their employees, agents, servants or any other persons acting on their behalf from transacting, withdrawing, transferring or dealing in any manner howsoever with any profits or benefits derived or accrued from the funds. While the directors of RemX Capital are John Kisilu Kamusina and Evalyne Wawira Gachoki, of Kenyan origin, the directors of Avalon Offshore are Nigerians; Jeffrey Nnaoma Michaels and Uduma Okoro Christopher Kalu. OIT Africa directors are Vionnah Akoth Odongo and Kenneth Odongo Raminya while Multigate Limited directors are Olubunmi Akinbanjo Akinyemiju, Nehikhare Eghosasere and Demuren Olufemi Olukunmi.