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Home People Cellulant’s co-CEO Bolaji Akinboro resigns as the firm suspends Agrikore

Cellulant’s co-CEO Bolaji Akinboro resigns as the firm suspends Agrikore

by Sam Wakoba
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Bolaji Akinboro, the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Cellulant Corp, and the CEO of Cellulant Nigeria Limited has resigned from his position, TechMoran can authoritatively report.

Bolaji voluntarily resigned after the integrity of Agrikore, which comes under his docket, was questioned and after an audit, several things were’nt adding up.

“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 firm announced in an internal statement.

“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. The integrity of the Agrikore platform is our top priority. We have engaged 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,” Cellulant announced.

Conceptualized in 2001 and founded in 2004 by Akinboro and Ken Njoroge, Cellulant is a payment platform infrastructure service provider with operations in Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi and Rwanda.

The firm’s various digital platforms connect buyers, sellers and other stakeholders in the entire value chain. where he runs the Mobile and Digital Payments aspect of the business. After raising $47.5m, Cellulant, aimed to use the funds to scale its blockchain-based platform Agrikore, a mobile blockchain-based platform serving more than 7 million farmers across the continent.

“With this new capital and as part of our scaling up strategy, we are leveraging on the growing mobile penetration trend in Africa to broaden our reach and extend our payments ecosystem across the continent. We are scaling up our existing payments products in the agriculture sector, digital banking and internet payments; as well as introducing consumer-focused products to complement the enterprise products we already have. This will allow us to increase access to payments for the millions of Africans who are still unbanked, despite the financial inclusion revolution,” added Bolaji Akinboro, Cellulant co-founder and CEO of Cellulant Nigeria, at the time.

Agrikore, also known as eWallet system provides a comprehensive system consisting of the technology, business processes, and a systematic organization for players in Agriculture in Africa to help them de-risk and increase investor participation on a large scale.

“With Agrikore, the financier is insulated from the intricate system consisting of farmers, aggregators, offtakers, agro-dealers, insurers, and commodity buyers that create value in the form of produce etc from agricultural inputs because the technology provides the transparency , integrity & immutability that grows the confidence of remote actors in the system,” the firm announced.

A farmers produce therefore serves as its own collateral, and a set system of insurance and inspection ensures that the flow of inputs and its conversion to produce is seriously de-risked compared to farmers without such a platform. Agrikore blockchain platform facilitating transparency of all transactions, safety of records and confidentiality of all transactions and traders over smart contracts.

Though now suspended, Agrikore facilitates loan disbursement, administration, and repayment, produce delivery, storage contracts, and ware-housing, and grants and subsidy distribution among others.

Akinboro became the Co-CEO of Cellulant in 2017, and because of his experience in the agriculture sector and as the CEO of Cellulant Nigeria, he was the defacto head of Agrikore, a blockchain-powered smart contract-system for the agriculture value chain which was launched in September 2019.

“The Agrikore platform is a distinct product line of Cellulant’s broader diversified payments business. The payments business, which operates in multiple countries across Africa, and represents the substantial majority of Cellulant, remains unaffected by this decision and is fully operational, the company added.

As the executive in charge, Akinboro took responsibility for the governance issues and resigned from all his management positions within the Cellulant group in late August.

Agrikore will not be operational for 6 to 8 weeks.

According to Dr. Sam Kiruthu, Chairman of Cellulant’s Board of Directors, ” 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. 

“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,” Kiruthu added.

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