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Co-founder, Aboyeji, distances self from allegations against Flutterwave CEO, Agboola



Flutterwave co-founder, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, to invest $100,000 in Nigerian startups

The former Chief Executive Officer of Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, has addressed allegations trailing the current CEO and co-founder of the African unicorn, Olugbenga Agboola.

Responding on Wednesday, via his Twitter account, to a series of allegations contained in an investigative story by an online publication against Agboola – who was also accused by a former employee, Wanjiku Clara, of harassing her for five years – Aboyeji made the following comments.

On Agboola’s abuse of power allegations

Agboola had been accused of abusing his position in Access Bank to favour Flutterwave during meetings with investors, while also advising another co-founder, Adeleke Adekoya, to front as Access Bank representative in another meeting.

According to the report, the bank wasn’t aware of Agboola’s dealings in Flutterwave, and this led to his exit upon discovery, while investors in Flutterwave didn’t know he had an official position with Access Bank.

Aboyeji said the bosses at Access Bank actually did know about Agboola’s involvement in Flutterwave, just like he was also still working as CEO at Andela during the early years of Flutterwave.

He said the knowledge about Flutterwave’s dealings even cut across the banking industry, as the co-founders tried to secure deals with financial institutions, but the BOAFIA Act made it impossible.

While admitting a “special relationship with Access Bank” existed, he said, “The ethical questions are; did the leadership of Access Bank know GB and Leke were working on Flutterwave and I can confirm yes.

“Was their phased exit from Access Bank disclosed to investors and the answer is yes. Even I incorporated Flutterwave while being at Andela.” Aboyeji said.

However, he didn’t address the usage of Access Bank resource, which is, standing as a representative for the lender during investor meeting of Flutterwave, and trying to mask his voice during investor call.

Controversy surrounding Flutterwave’s ownership stake

Aboyeji also responded to the claim that Agboola compelled both him and Adekoya, to part with 10% stake for another co-founder, Greg Agboola, who the report said doesn’t exit according to official documents of the ownership structure.

It was alleged that Agboola created the identity of Greg Agboola in order to gain more shares, adding to the 37.5% ownership he owns, while the 10% was to be taken out of Aboyeji and Adekoya’s combined 62.5% ownership.

Read also: FLUTTERWAVE: IrokoTV boss, Njoku, calls for ’checks & balances’ on funds raised by Nigerian startups

However, Aboyeji said there wasn’t any complications in the ownership structure as claimed by the report, stating that, “I negotiated and received 15% of the company’s equity on a vested schedule and I worked hard to build that business. So let’s not add salt to injury here.”

Matters arising at U.S SEC hearing

Access Holding Company GMD, Herbert Wigwe, Aboyeji and Agboola, were claimed to have lied to the U.S SEC that Agboola never worked simultaneously with Access Bank and Flutterwave.

LinkedIn profile of Agboola showed that he left Access Bank in 2016, but official documents showed the Flutterwave CEO was still under the employment of Access Bank as at least 2017.

Aboyeji said he was the only one invited to the U.S SEC hearing and the case was closed in favour of them, and not 2018, and the report could affect his credibility, hence a need to sue the reporter.

“He’s made himself hard to ignore this time sha. Especially since he claims I visited DC in 2018 with imaginary people to resolve an investigation that was closed by SEC in Sept 2017.” Aboyeji wrote.

Explaining the impact of the accusation that he lied to the SEC, he said, “So we are very very clear what he has accused me off could mean that my license is removed and I can never be a director in a company again.

“Why attack my livelihood and then start claiming innocence. I’m sorry I don’t hold grudges but despite his change in ‘tone’ he has to pay.”

On Agboola sacking Aboyeji in 2018

Aboyeji had announced his resignation in October 2018, but the report claimed he was sacked by Agboola after he was locked out of the company’s email and slack – while he seemingly admitted the latter, he denied the former.

“Let’s assume this is true (locked out of company property), since when did being locked out of email and slack constitute ‘firing’ for a $50m company with investors, a board and corporate governance. David (name of reporter) needs to go to business school if he wants to keep doing business reporting.”

Aboyeji further stated, “By my hand I incorporated Flutterwave May 2, 2016 (while I was still at Andela by the way) and by my hand I resigned with a letter dated Oct 12, 2018. Every single necessary evidence has been preserved because I conducted myself with the highest integrity.”

Court battle brewing

According to Aboyeji, who also founded Future Africa, he said international investors are alarmed by the allegations against Agboola, which implicated him, as he was CEO during the timeframe mentioned in the report.

He stated that he has actual records to defend his activities during his time at Flutterwave, as his operation was ethical, and he didn’t hide information from investors and partners.

Aboyeji advised that the action of Agboola should be separated from the actions of Flutterwave, “Again I am painstakingly separating the actions of any individual from the corporate actions of a company I co-founded and built.

“While I was at the helm of Flutterwave we had the highest ethical standards. This is important for my stakeholders to know.” Aboyeji wrote, while saying he would take legal steps against the publication and its reporter.

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