U.S. research firm accuses Nigerian fintech, Tingo Group, of scam

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U.S. investment research firm, Hindenburg Research, has alleged that Tingo Group, a fintech company owned by Dozy Mmobuosi, is a scam.

In a report released on Tuesday, Hindenburg Research said Tingo is a diversified business, which has subsidiaries spread across the mobile phones market, food processing, and online food marketplace for farmers in Nigeria.

However, in their research, Hindenburg claimed it discovered that Tingo’s operations are non-existent but that Mmobuosi reportedly goes around with dubious claims.

Hindenburg said the $1.6 billion food processing plant Tingo claimed to have launched does not exist, as the plant is only a bare land with just a signpost, despite informing the United States Securities and Exchange Commission that the building of the plant is progressing.

Also, he claimed that his mobile business has 12 million users, who are predominantly farmers, however, Tingo is not licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the farmers cooperative he claimed are using his mobile do not know about Tingo and are only a group of hundreds.

The report said Mmobuosi also claimed to have launched Tingo Airlines, but it was later discovered that the poster disclosing the airline business was photoshopped to send the wrong information.

Mmobuosi came under the limelight when he offered to buy Sheffield United, a football club in England.

“We’ve identified major red flags with Dozy’s background. For starters, he appears to have fabricated his biographical claim to have developed the first mobile payment app in Nigeria. We contacted the app’s actual creator, who called Dozy’s claims “a pure lie”, the report reads in part.

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“Dozy claimed to have received a PhD in rural advancement from a Malaysian university in 2007. We contacted the school to verify the degree. They wrote back saying no one by his name was found in their verification system.

“In 2017, Dozy was arrested and faced an 8-count indictment over issuance of bad checks, according to the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. He later settled the case in arbitration.

“In 2019, Dozy claimed to have launched “Tingo Airlines” and posted social media messages encouraging customers to “fly with Tingo Airlines today”.

“Media outlets later uncovered that Tingo had photoshopped its logo onto pictures of airplanes. Dozy later admitted to never owning any actual aircraft.

“In April 2023, Tingo’s Co-Chairman wrote a public letter to Dozy, filed with the SEC, saying he could not approve the company’s annual report and felt it “necessary to recuse myself by resigning” due to “many critical questions, comments and recommendations” that went “unanswered and unheeded”.

Regarding Tingo’s financials, Hindenburg alleged that they were fabricated, “We strongly suspect Tingo’s cash balance, which it conveniently claims is held in Nigeria, is fake. The company collected only ~12% of the interest income one would expect from its claimed cash balances.

“Overall, we think Tingo is a worthless and brazen fraud that should serve as a humiliating embarrassment for all involved. We do not expect the company will be long for this world.”

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