A Nigerian financial firm, RemX Limited, has been accused of using counterfeit documents to successfully transfer millions of dollars between Kenyan banks and the US-based Citibank, according to new legal filings in a case brought by Hong Kong-based company Lae Technologies at the High Court. The alleged deception, which involves false agreements, reportedly went unnoticed by Citibank’s compliance team and Kenyan regulators for four years.
Court documents contain WhatsApp messages between representatives from RemX and Lae Technologies that reveal how the payments service company manipulated documentation to move vast sums without arousing suspicion. Lae Technologies is now requesting that the High Court freeze RemX’s accounts and those of its affiliates until a lawsuit seeking payment of $88 million for software sold to the Nigerians is resolved.
Nehikhare Eghosasere, a director of RemX, allegedly shared details of their strategy to bypass regulatory scrutiny in these WhatsApp messages. The firm registered itself in multiple countries to create the illusion of “Same Company Funds Transfer” and evade inquiries from Citibank’s compliance team.
RemX, along with several other companies registered under the same names, is said to have received over Sh84 billion and transferred out Sh78 billion between 2019 and last year through Equity Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA). The banks could face repercussions for not adhering to Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, which are intended to prevent money laundering and the flow of illicit funds.
Kenyan banks are mandated by law to report suspicious transactions to the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) and to conduct due diligence on their customers. The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has, however, dropped its case against RemX, leading the High Court to unfreeze Sh5.6 billion of the firm’s assets.
The Central Bank of Kenya and the FRC have previously claimed that the transactions carried out by RemX and related firms were illegal, and that the companies were not authorized to process payments in Kenya.