Kenya’s ARA clears Kora of wrongdoing in money laundering case

Kenya’s Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) has filed a notice of withdrawal at the High Court of Kenya at the Nairobi Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division, bringing to an end the allegations of money laundering levelled against fintech company Kora.

The Nigerian-based payment company had its account frozen on the allegations that it was being used to carry out illicit money transfers. The frozen account contained $249,565 which Kora had said was being kept to facilitate its licence from the Central Bank of Kenya.

Kora told BusinessDay in October that it had engaged with the Kenyan authorities taking them through its process and its records. This led to ARA accepting to drop the charges on 19 October 2022 through a court document filed by the state counsel Stephen Githinji on its behalf. The agency has filed an additional document this week clearing Kora of any wrongdoing in the ARA application.

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Part of the document which BusinessDay saw read “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.”

Gideon Orovwiroro, Kora’s Chief Operations Officer, Kora, said the company had always maintained its innocence in the matter.

“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,” said Orovwiroro.

“Kora acknowledges 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, USD, 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.”

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