Flutterwave responds as CEO is put on the spot for alleged bullying by ex-employee – TechCrunch

On Monday, Clara Wanjiku Oderoa former employee of African payment giant and unicorn Flutterwave, accused the company’s CEO, Olugbenga, ‘GB’ Agboola of bullying and harassing her for years. She made the accusations in a Medium post and series of tweets what came after.

In the blog post, Odero recounted how a series of undescribed events led her to resign from her job as Head of Implementation (Rest of Africa) in 2018 and when it was time to settle down, she stated that the company refused to do so.

However, in the face of her threats to sue the company, which she says prompted several company employees to “ask to speak and settle this amicably,” Flutterwave ultimately paid her dues, the post said.

According to Odero, what followed was an accusation made by the company of his involvement in a Twitter account alleging sexual harassment of male members of Flutterwave’s management.

“I asked for my dues several times, [I] I didn’t get an answer actually [I] was threatened and I responded accordingly,” said Odero, who is now CEO of Credrails, an open financial platform backed by SoftBank.

“Flutterwave paid me my money after several people called me to cancel my attorneys; lawyers i had to call because they refused to pay me simply because they thought i would do nothing [a.k.a] intimidate. Without any proof, they accused me of being behind an account denouncing male management members for sexual harassment.”

Odero’s post also revealed how she was “introduced to a bank in Nigeria for a role which GB later sabotaged by saying she was a bad worker, a crime in California.” But what broke the camel’s back was when Flutterwave, “in an attempt to continue doing business in Kenya with M-Pesa, kept my number as the contact person on the Mpesa payment invoice.”

In this local article published two years ago, Wanjiku claimed that his number was used as the contact person in a fraud involving Flutterwave allegedly hosting nonexistent sex parties in Thika, Kenya and extorting up to Sh1,500 from Kenyans.

Wanjiku sued Flutterwave for damages and won a settlement, according to his blog. However, he appealed the case after considering that the payment was not enough to compensate for all the problems caused. This was corroborated in a recent interview given by Agboola and several senior members of Flutterwave and published hours before Wanjiku published his Medium post.

“A former employee who led one of our country’s expansions sued us for negligence and emotional trauma for not removing his name as a contact person in the country. So every time there was a business inquiry, they were called. They said this was emotional harassment,” the Flutterwave CEO revealed.

“We tried to resolve this amicably, but it was impossible. They asked for $900,000 to dismiss the lawsuit. We refused because we did not believe that $900,000 in damages represented the cost of the alleged negligence. They continued with the lawsuit and the judge awarded them the equivalent of $2,500 in damages. When it came time to cut the check, they rejected it and said they would appeal.”

The interview, which may have prompted Wanjiku to tell his side of the story, mainly highlighted Flutterwave’s rise to become Africa’s most valuable company after completing a $250 million Series D round at a $3k valuation. million in February. He also noted that Flutterwave dealt with a sexual harassment case in which it “discovered that an employee had been inappropriate with members of his team.” leading to immediate dismissal, the company said.

TechCrunch has reached out to Flutterwave for comment, asking specific questions about claims of bullying of Wanjiku by the company and its CEO. The fintech company refused to address every one of our questions, and instead sent this response:

As an organization that continually strives to create an environment where employees feel safe and secure, we take recent reports of bullying by a former employee very seriously.

We categorically state that there is no place for bullying or harassment of any kind in our workplace. We have a zero tolerance stance on harassment and a strong independent disciplinary committee and processes in place to root out any type of abuse.

Flutterwave has grown significantly in staff over the last 3 years. We experienced most of that growth during the lockdown: it was very important for us to bring the entire company together to come together in one place (for the first time in many cases), share stories, challenges and build camaraderie. Sharing some of our challenges as a company understandably drew a reaction from a former employee.

We confirm that at the time of resignation, all monies owed to our former employee at that time were immediately disbursed and we have records to confirm this. However, we sincerely regret the circumstances that led to the dispute and hope that it has been addressed in a more timely manner.

We do not take this lightly in any way. We want the ecosystem to have a healthy and productive work culture and we are committed to doing our part.

In an interesting turn of events, Wanjiku told TechCrunch, “I’m not allowed to talk about this anymore because of ‘the ecosystem,'” when we reached out to her to share more of her story.

This news comes two weeks after Lagos-based tech publication TechCabal published a report on the toxic and unhealthy work culture created at Bento, a human resources platform by its CEO, Ebun Okubanjo. The report has sparked a conversation that has led to other employees from tech and different sectors in Nigeria and Africa sharing similar work experiences in recent weeks.

This is a developing story…

Leave a Comment