Two Nigerian Fintech tycoons, Eghosasere Nehikhare and Bukunmi Olufemi Demuren and another individual, are under probe by Interpol in Kenya for a suspicious transfer of $221 million (worth Kenya Sh25 billion) from Nigeria.
Nehikhare is the founder of Boltpay, while Demuren is the founder of Multigate Limited.
Interpol and Kenya’s Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) are probing the duo for suspicious transfers between October and November 2020.
According to Kenya’s Nation newspaper, the three Nigerians involved in what is suspected to be laundered money enjoy the backing of a powerful Kenyan politician.
Part of the money, about Sh5.6 billion has been frozen in accounts of a local subsidiary of a Nigerian bank and Equity Bank.
Two Kenyans are also involved in the transfers which came to Kenya in dollars and euros.
Mr Nehikhare is a graduate of the University of Oxford in the UK and is the CEO of Multigate Ltd.
Demuren earned a chemical engineering degree from Cooper Union University in the US. He is the chairman of Multigate Ltd.
Mutligate and RemX are among companies registered in Kenya, Dubai and Nigeria and which are at the heart of the money transfers.
The money was wired through multiple companies registered locally with shared ownership and suspect addresses.
Kenya’s Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), has frozen the remaining funds of Sh5.6 billion.
It was not aware of the full laundered funds, which Interpol is probing.
On April 5, ARA obtained court orders freezing Sh5.6 billion in six bank accounts, but its investigators are unaware that the network of firms and individuals had moved another Sh20 billion through local lenders in one month in 2020, Nation reported.
An ARA officer has confirmed that the agency was only aware of the Sh5.6 billion frozen; it has no details of an Interpol investigation first revealed by Business Daily.
Business Daily said that a network of six firms — OIT Africa, Avalon Offshore Logistics, RemX Capital Ltd, RemX Ltd, RemX Investment Partners and Multigate Ltd — moved Sh25.6 billion from Nigeria to Kenya before wiring some of the funds to countries in Europe and Asia.
Despite confirming that ARA has yet to interrogate shareholders of the companies, the officer insisted that its investigations are ongoing and could see some of the suspects charged with money laundering and other economic crimes.
The source of the funds has puzzled local and international sleuths, who are trying to find the origin.
The Nation has established that Interpol’s investigation has hit a brick wall, as it would need to cooperate with Kenyan and Nigerian authorities to determine when, how and why Sh25.6 billion was moved between the two countries.
The information sought by Interpol would require obtaining bank statements of all accounts where the suspect loot was stashed or moved from.
ARA’s lack of knowledge of the actual amount moved to Kenya in 2020 indicates that there is no cooperation with the agency and Interpol.
Investigators have so far frozen accounts of three firms — Avalon Offshore Logistics Limited, Oit Africa Limited and RemX Capital Limited. They are the owners of the accounts deposited with the money.
Two bank accounts of 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 the Nigerian bank are holding a total of $41,715,444 (Sh4,833,568,496), while Remix’s account at the Nigerian bank is holding $6,648,838 (Sh770,400,859).
A search at the Registrar of Companies revealed that RemX Capital directors are John Kisilu Kamusina and Evalyne Wawira Gachoki.
Avalon Offshore directors are Nigerians Jeffrey Nnaoma Michaels and Uduma Okoro Christopher Kalu.
OIT Africa directors are Vionnah Akoth Odongo and Kenneth Odongo Raminya.
Multigate Limited directors are Olubunmi Akinbanjo Akinyemiju, Nehikhare Eghosasere and Demuren Olufemi Olukunmi.