CEO of Cellulant Nigeria Limited and Co-founder of Cellulant Corporation, Bolaji Akinboro has resigned from all his managerial positions at the company.
As Executive Lead of Cellulant’s flagship platform Agrikore, Bolaji stepped down amid irregularities concerning the platform’s post-audit results.
Cellulant stated via an internal statement: “While conducting a compliance review on the Agrikore platform, we identified certain aspects of the compliance infrastructure and control framework of the platform that have not kept up with the platform’s rapid growth. An investigation revealed that 14 Agrikore employees had inappropriately received funds from Agrikore wallets. There is no indication that customer funds were compromised.”
The 14 employees involved in the possible misappropriation of funds have since been retrenched by the company. Pending the full resolution of questionable matters, Agrikore will be suspended for the next six (6) to eight (8) weeks, according to Cellulant.
“As soon as we understood the issue, we moved quickly to temporarily shut down the Agrikore marketplace, inform our customers and regulators, and terminate the employees involved,” said the firm.
Speaking on the situation, Dr Sam Kiruthu, Chairman of Cellulant’s Board of Directors said:
This has led us to the difficult decision to suspend Agrikore operations while we complete a comprehensive review of all aspects of Agrikore operations. The integrity of the platform is our top priority and we trust that we can count on your patience as we address these issues over the coming weeks.
However, Cellulant’s e-payment services across Nigeria, Kenya and nine (9) other African countries will continue to be operational.
“The payment business in Nigeria therefore remains operational while we conduct the review of Agrikore. Our other markets are also fully operational, and we remain committed to providing innovative solutions that support the business objectives of all our business partners and customers,” Sam added.
Cellulant and the Agrikore Controversy
Founded in 2004 by Bolaji Akinboro and Ken Njoroge, Cellulant provides an electronic payments gateway through its app and website for individuals, merchants and corporations to process financial transactions. The company is presently operational in eleven (11) African countries – Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana and Rwanda.
Agrikore, on the other hand was a spin off from Cellulant. Agrikore is a blockchain-based digital marketplace connecting agriculture stakeholders including governments, farmers, merchants and financial institutions.
The Agrikore platform caters to over 7 million farmers across Africa and was largely financed using funds raised by Cellulant in a $47.5 million Series C round from Velocity Capital, The Rise Fund, Endeavor Catalyst and two other investors.
Bolaji Akinboro oversaw Agrikore’s operations and was responsible for leading the entire Agrikore team. According to SiteIndices, Agrikore had an estimated valuation of about $15,000 as of August this year.
According to Cellulant, Agrikore has grown rapidly over the past two and half years. Going by the company’s statement, however, Agrikore’s fiscal position has not been consistent with its rapid scaling.
This has resulted in ‘critical’ issues which Cellulant has stated that it needs to resolve.
While the full extent of what led to Bolaji Akinboro’s resignation is not yet known, Cellulant has hired an “independent ‘Big 4’ accounting firm to conduct a complete forensic review of marketplace wallets and a well-respected Nigerian law firm to lead a full, independent investigation of the platform.”