Flutterwave Abruptly Loses CFO While Planning a US$50 Million Kenya Investment Drive


Payments company Flutterwave is on the search for a new Chief Finance Officer (CFO). This comes after the serving CFO abruptly announced his exit from the Fintech. Oneal Bhambani, called time on his one-year six-month stint at the company. He took to his LinkedIn to make the announcement public, saying “I wish everyone at Flutterwave the best and I will be rooting for you. Last week, I made the difficult decision to end my tenure at the company.”

Oneal Bhambani joined Africa’s most valuable start up after serving as CFO for American fintech Kabbage. He was at Kabbage, a lending company, when it was acquired by American Express. Post acquisition, he stayed on as an executive. He left American Express to join Flutterwave at a time when the company was facing fraud allegations in Kenya and battling court cases.

Flutterwave in Kenya has undergone what its Co-founder terms as ‘a baptism of fire”. Alleged accusations of money laundering led the corruption watchdog, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), to shut down several of its bank accounts in the country. The development saw the state freeze over USD 52 million of Flutterwave’s funds. However, the case was withdrawn and Flutterwave was granted access to its accounts on this occasion.

This year, a group of 2,468 Nigerian  Nationals obtained a court order to have 45 Flutterwave accounts in Kenya frozen alongside 10 Mobile Money Wallets. The Nigerians claimed the pan African start-up was the vehicle used to defraud them of $12.04 million.

Mr. Oneal’s time at the payments company was also marked by expansion into Rwanda as a licensed remittance company. After making his resignation public, he has not announced his next move yet. In the interim, Israel Koledowo, Head of Finance for Africa, will serve as the Flutterwave’s CFO. The company is set to begin a global search for a new CFO. Two other finance executives who joined Flutterwave from American Express’s Kabbage also left the Nigerian company last month.

Flutterwave Planned Expansion into Kenya

Despite, its troubles in Kenya, the Nigerian fintech company plans a $50 million (Ksh7.3 billion) investment in Kenya. Oneal Bhambani has quit as at crucial phase as the firm pushes for a payments and remittances licence in Kenya. In September, the company’s Chief Executive and Co-founder Olugbenga Agboola confirmed that Flutterwave has received first-name approval from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

We are looking at investing not less than $50 million. We are employing people. We are getting a new office and scaling up our infrastructure. There is a lot to do in Kenya,” said Mr Agboola.

Optimistic on receiving a payments and remittance licence from the regulator, Flutterwave has been hiring more staff to prepare the ground. The firm has snapped up top talent from other fintech’s like Chipper Cash and tech companies including Safaricom and Microsoft. It is building a team while planning to set up a physical premise in the country.

Securing approval in Kenya will expand Flutterwave’s presence into additional African markets, including Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Cameroon, where the company already offers payment infrastructure solutions for merchants and service providers.