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Business News of Saturday, 30 April 2022

Source: nairametrics.com

Nigerian businessman debunks money laundering allegation by Kenyan media

Mr Olubunmi Akinyemiju Mr Olubunmi Akinyemiju

One of the Nigerian businessmen mentioned in a report by Kenyan media accusing him of allegedly transferring money to bank accounts of several Kenyan shell companies has reacted to the reports.

When contacted by Nairamentrics to comment on the allegations against him and others, Mr Olubunmi Akinyemiju, co-founder and CEO of Venture Garden Group, released a statement, defending himself and his company.

According to him, all the allegations published hold no merit and were created with bad intentions. He also described the report as a malicious attack from unknown parties.

Back story

Reports emerged in Kenyan media accusing Nigerian businessmen of being involved in a SH25.6 billion ($220.9 million) in wired transactions that took place between October and November 2020.

According to reports, the Nigerians are suspected of transferring money to bank accounts of several Kenyan shell companies ostensibly owned by them.

A total sum of Sh25.6 billion was wired from Nigeria to Kenya from where some of the funds were now moved to Europe and Asia.

The case is reported as being investigated by the Interpol, Kenyan Asset Recovery Agency which has a mission to recover stolen assets and proceeds of crime on behalf of the people of Kenya.

What Mr Akinyemiju is saying about the allegations

Mr Akinyemiju who described the allegations as damaging activities of unknown bad actors, noted that RemX and Multigate are fast-growing B2B payment companies operating across multiple markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and he is not an Executive of either RemX or Multigate as alleged.

He also said RemX and Multigate have informed him that they have no political affiliations in Kenya and they are working to uncover the source of allegations against them to clear the air.

I want to be clear on the fact that there is no element of truth to this article. All allegations published hold no merit and were created with bad intentions. It is a malicious attack from unknown parties.

“It is very public knowledge, the work that Kunmi Demuren and I have done at and through Venture Garden Group (VGG) our Venture Builder business and Greenhouse Capital (GHC) our Venture Capital business, over the last twelve (12) years in our efforts to contribute to the building of Africa’s technology ecosystem.

“It is not clear at this time why some Kenyan agents have manufactured a narrative, likely toward political ends given the direction of the article. Perhaps these actions are related to the upcoming elections in Kenya; however, RemX and Multigate are working to figure out the source and motive of the fabrications and have the record corrected as soon as possible.

“We have incubated several companies and now have several subsidiary brands associated with VGG over the years. The VGG-owned companies are transparent and publicly known. None of the entities referenced are owned in any way by VGG. GHC has also invested in various companies across the continent, with Kenya being one of the major markets where we have supported founders.

“Beyond VGG companies and companies we have invested in through GHC, there are hundreds of founders that my work directly supports. However, neither VGG or GHC are investors in RemX and Multigate.

“To be clear, Eghosa Nehikhare incubated the start-ups, Multigate and RemX, to solve the cross-border payment processing problem that businesses face in Africa today. Similar to how we have backed hundreds of founders in the ecosystem across Africa with advice and capital, we have supported Eghosa through his journey as a founder.

“He was a rockstar when he previously worked within VGG with stellar performance, and like so many such people with ideas, Kunmi and I have and continue to back him personally in both start-ups. We believe in his vision, and this start-up has proven its merit in solving real industry problems, evidenced by its exponential growth ever since it was founded. His companies have achieved significant success with several marquee corporate and regulatory relationships built over the years.”

“What I have seen in these articles are quite surprising and appalling, and we are reminded again that it is Africa; and it is the peak of election season. Is it shakedown time? Is it a time where several bad actors begin to indiscriminately attack businesses and entrepreneurs for unscrupulous reasons, creating collateral damages in a bid to claim political superiority? We can only speculate. Nonetheless, we intend to push back by asking for the facts, following the legal process, and refusing to allow this misinformation to spread any further.

“We have found the Kenyan market to be very accommodating to foreign entrepreneurs, including Nigerians, and I don’t believe that political or media agents should be allowed to disrupt the progress made over the years for whatever personal motivations.”

“It is unfortunate, but the massive greed and corruption on the continent we love and are working hard to transform may end up being how we get to hurt each other, stifle businesses and hinder growth.

“Our startups, ecosystems and founders should be supported.

“I enjoin you to refute the damaging activities of unknown bad actors and refuse to allow the spread of misinformation by challenging unsupported allegations as we have seen shared in these tabloids. As a community, I would request you not to take this at face value but to ask for the facts as required, while we continue to support Eghosa and the broader pan-African Multigate and RemX teams at this time.”

What you should know

Mr Akinyemiju and Mr Dumeren are both co-founders of Venture Garden Group which styles itself as Africa’s largest technology holding conglomerate.

They invest in several growth companies engaging in Fintech as a Service, Education, Power etc.

RemX Capital also released an official statement saying that the allegations against them are speculative, wrong, and defamatory.