Tingo Group, a fast-rising conglomerate of businesses owned by Nigerian businessman, Dozy Mmobuosi, that cut across tech, agriculture, e-commerce and aviation has been accused of “exceptionally obvious scams with completely fabricated financials.”
In a new expose by Hindenburg Research, a US-based investment research firm, “Dozy” Mmobuosi, CEO of Tingo Group is accused of falsifying documents and the financial statements of the company on multiple occasions.
Tingo Group’s Alleged Scam
It also alleges that the company sought to sell products that it didn’t have, including mobile phones, food processing and an online food marketplace for farmers primarily located in Nigeria.
Tingo claims that it has generated $128 million from its mobile handset leasing, call and data segments in Q1 2023, services that it said it provided through an agreement with Airtel in Nigeria. Not only did this type of agreement not exist in Nigeria until this month, but the Nigerian Communications Commission also said that it has no record of Tingo being a mobile licensee at all.
The claims that Tingo Mobile, the phones provided for farmers, were being used by millions in Nigeria have also been unsubstantiated. Similarly, its Ghana expansion that would have generated 2-4 million members of Tingo Mobile could also not be substantiated.
Tingo Pay, its fintech described as a “seamless payment system” is also shrouded in discrepancy, including not having a partnership with the bank that it said it had when it launched in 2021. The bank said it had “NOT concluded any agreement with Tingo International in respect of any payment system whatsoever.”
Tingo said that it has a point of sale (PoS) product. but it has photoshopped its logo on images from other PoS operator websites.
Its online marketplace, NWASSA which it said generated $125.3 million in revenue last quarter has been “under maintenance” and inoperable for months.
All you need to know about Hindenburg Research into Tingo Group
“Tingo’s food division is 7 months old, yet claimed to generate $577.2 million in revenue last quarter alone, representing 68% of total reported revenue. If accurate, its claimed 24.8% operating margins would exceed those of every major comparable food company,” the expose reports.
But in fact, Tingo has no food processing facility of its own, Hindenburg Research learned from its investigation.
A February event announcing a $1.6 billion Nigerian food processing facility that included pictures of Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, Nigeria’s minister of agriculture, Hindenburg Research found to have been a fake rendering of an oil refinery from a stock photo website.
An announcement by the company of a $150 million agreement with a UK entity called Evtec Energy to build solar panels for its non-existent food processing facility is also just one of Dozy’s scams. In fact, UK filings show that Evtec was “Dormant” and held zero cash in the bank.
An acquisition of Tingo Foods from Dozy Mmobuosi by Tingo Group in February 2023 for $204 million has also completely vanished from the Q1 2023 accounts without explanation.
At the core of the reporting were activities by Dozy, like his claim to have developed the first mobile payment app in Nigeria which is totally false.
He also said he had received a PhD in rural advancement from Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2007. The University said it couldn’t find his name in its verification system.
The report reveals that in 2019 when Dozy claimed to have launched “Tingo Airlines” and posted social media messages encouraging customers to “fly with Tingo Airlines today,” it was actually photos of aeroplanes belonging to other airlines. He has since admitted to never owning any actual aircraft.
At the peak of his scam, he attempted to acquire Sheffield United, the now-Premier League soccer team. Tingo’s plans to raise $500 million and list on the NYSE, were heavily reported in the international media including on Bloomberg. Dozy was featured on the cover of Forbes Africa and GQ South Africa, as an African tech entrepreneur changing the face of agriculture.
Already the expose is making an impact with Block & Leviton, a law firm that previously sued Elon Musk over his Twitter stake, launching an investigation into potential securities law violations.
“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.
“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 cheques, 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”.
The research firm also said it observed several errors and typos in Tingo’s financial statements.
“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,” the report reads.
“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.”