Flutterwave Scandal: The Company And Its CEO Under Fire for Alleged Dubious Practices
Flutterwave, Africa’s unrivaled market leader in online payments, is under allegations of dubious practices. The co-founder and chief executive, Olugbenga Agboola, seem to be under fire for creating a phantom co-founder identity to secure more company shares. He has also allegedly offered share prices far below the actual company’s valuation to the employees interested in cashing in on their vested options.
While the newsletter by a popular Nigeria journalist, David Hundeyin, only made the above-stated allegations, his tweet has given a wholly new and much more intense dimension to the Flutterwave scandal. His claim to have the top documents and recordings at hand makes this case more interesting, and there seems to be a lot more drama waiting for Nigeria’s top-notch entrepreneur, Agboola.
Six months ago, I started working on a story about @theflutterwave. Along the way, I have obtained top secret documents, recordings and records that tell a very different story from what is publicly known.
— David Hundeyin (@DavidHundeyin) April 12, 2022
What’s More to the Allegations In Flutterwave Scandal?
While the above allegations are enough to scandalize Agboola and his entire $3b valuation of Flutterwave, there’s much more to the story. The CEO is also alleged to be working for Flutterwave and working full-time with his previous employer, i.e., Access Bank, without information. He had been misusing his position and accessible assets from the bank, reports the story published by David. Not just that, but the story also suggests he has been found in sexual relationships with the subordinate female staff at Flutterwave.
What Led to the Outage of the Flutterwave Scandal?
The former head of implementation, Flutterwave, Clara Wanjiku Odero, posted an explosive article on Medium – giving rise to the entire Flutterwave scandal. She alleged being harassed by the company’s CEO and that she had to fight to get her dues cleared after leaving the company. She also claimed that the company’s negligence led to her being investigated by the Kenyan police.
Her allegations gave multiple directions to the investigation – opening a lot more dubious cases around the practices and culture followed at the Flutterwave. Odero has further expanded on her allegations with the Rest of World which further spoke with twelve more former employees of Flutterwave to validate the information she revealed. As reported by former employees, Odero’s allegations mostly comprise the company’s recurring issues.
They further opened up about how the company has always had a culture of bullying and inappropriate relationships between the managers and subordinates, underpaying every parting employee for their stock options, and that there were much deliberate administrative errors made in the company documentation – creating troublesome legal issues for the leaving employees. Additionally, these former employees pressed for anonymity, for they feared facing the repercussions of speaking the truth out loud. It represented the kind of pressure and toxicity these employees must have faced during and past their work tenure at the company.
Upon the outage of such allegations and claims from the former employees, a Flutterwave spokesperson emailed to the Rest of World, despising all that has been claimed about the company. It reports that most allegations are fabricated lies, recycled issues, or things the company has already addressed. The spokesperson also states that the company follows robust HR policies that continue to evolve and serve justice across all levels of employees and staff.
What Was Known About Flutterwave and Agboola Until the Scandal Came Out?
As the very first movers in the online payments industry of Nigeria with an unrivaled valuation of almost $3 billion, Flutterwave stands on top, making Agboola one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in Africa.
Known for having a very reserved personality with limited media appearances, Agboola still managed to have himself numbered in all the major business listings, including Quartz Africa’s 2019 Innovators, 2020 by Fortune, and those of TIMES 2021.
In addition to his popularity for leading one of the top tech startups in Nigeria, his reputation got a significant stretch with his investments in the growing African startups. He also won a major ‘Tech Investor of the Year’ award at the Business Insider just a few hours after the Flutterwave scandal story went live.
Expanding into corporate investments, Flutterwave has recently co-led a $3.4 million round for a UK-based fintech, Dapio. A significant part of what the company has raised ($250 million) is expected to be spent on further investments and relentless marketing.
What Comes Next? – How Is the Scandal Expected to Impact Flutterwave’s Growth & Reputation?
Odero’s allegations, followed by David’s story, Flutterwave, and Agboola, are under serious fire. Though the company has denied all that has been claimed via a statement, the ex-employee does not seem to back off from what she has revealed about the CEO and the company.
While Flutterwave might have been able to defy her allegations if they were alone completely, they’ve instead given the many other former employees an open direction to come out with their stories. Multiple cases are opening up – revealing the malpractices of the organization and the dubious activities of the otherwise well-known and praised CEO.
As an outcome, the company faces public scrutiny over multiple issues, including an official investigation regarding the ethical obligations to be conducted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
While things have got severely complicated for Flutterwave and Agboola, putting the company’s valuation and reputation at stake, the other Nigerian startups are also under threat. Foreign investors seem to have had a view inside the toxic Nigerian work environment, pushing them to rethink their investment plans in the country.
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