A federal high court in Abuja has ordered the temporary unfreezing of accounts belonging to fintech companies; Bamboo Systems Technology Limited and Bamboo Systems Tech. Ltd.
According to reports, this was to enable the fintech companies to pay salaries to their staff as well as to fulfil their rent obligations.
Recall that 3 weeks ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) secured a federal high court order to freeze accounts of four Fintech companies. The accounts that were frozen included those belonging to Bamboo Systems Technology Limited and Bamboo Systems Technology Limited OPNS.
Others are Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited and Trove Technologies Limited.
The CBN counsel, Chief Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, accused the fintech companies of being responsible for the Naira’s depreciation against the United States dollars. The CBN also claimed the investment startups were operating as asset management companies without obtaining the required licenses.
While the initial freezing was supposed to last 180 days to enable the CBN to complete its investigation, the companies filed an application seeking a variation on the grounds that they need funds to pay rent and salaries of employees.
A counsel to the two firms, Chiezohu Okpoko, told the court on Tuesday, September 7, that his clients were also seeking an amicable resolution of the matter. The counsel to the CBN, Michael Aondoakaa, who had filed the ex-parte motion to freeze the companies’ accounts, did not oppose the application for variation.
“We agree to a partial variation to the extent of what they have asked for with regard to paying rent, salaries and an amicable settlement,” Chief Aondoakaa said.
Ruling on the application, the presiding judge, Ahmed Mohammed, granted the request for partial variation of the order and ordered the accounts of the two companies to be unfrozen solely for the purposes of allowing the companies to pay rent on the property they are occupying, pay salaries of workers and allow for amicable settlement.
Hope for an even quicker resolution?
While the matter was adjourned till February 2022, there were signs that it might be resolved before then. This would largely hinge on the fintech companies’ willingness to operate within the CBN guidelines.
CBN counsel, Chief Aondoakaa himself acknowledged that the companies want an amicable resolution when he said: “They want a partial variation to allow them access funds to pay rent and workers’ salaries; they also want an amicable settlement…”
He also didn’t oppose the application of the companies which indicates a healthy amount of trust between them. He also confirmed that just like the fintech companies, the CBN is also open to an amicable resolution of the matter.
“We are not opposed to this, and we are open to an amicable settlement, all we want is that they should operate within the guidelines of the law,” he said.
One can only hope that other fintech startups involved in the matter like Risevest, Chaka and Trove are being carried along in the process of amicable resolutions. Rise had previously assured its customers that it will work with regulators to ensure that all issues raised are properly addressed.
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