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US Charges Nigerian Fintech Businessman, Dozy Mmobuosi, Who Tried To Buy Sheffield United With Fraud

The United States of America Government has brought criminal charges against Nigerian fintech businessman, Odogwu Banye Mmobuosi for allegedly involving in a series of fraudulent activities.

Reuters reports that, in an indictment made public on Tuesday, Mmobuosi, 45, the former co-chief executive officer of Tingo Group (TIO.O), was charged with securities fraud, producing false Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and conspiracy.

According to prosecutors, the defendant, Dozy Mmobuosi, falsely asserted that his Tingo Mobile cellular business and Tingo Foods farm business were profitable, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

It was learned that Mmobuosi transferred both firms to Tingo Group and Agri-Fintech Holdings (TMNA.PK), causing them to falsely portray the companies as “cash-rich, revenue-generating companies,” and plundered millions of dollars by misappropriating funds and selling stock at inflated prices.

According to prosecutors, the alleged conspiracy took place between 2019 and 2023.

SaharaReporters had also reported an investigation by Hindenburg Research found that Tingo Group, founded and spearheaded by “Dozy” Mmobuosi, is an exceptionally obvious scam with completely fabricated financials.

Tingo Group which is headquartered in New Jersey, United States of America, claims to have several business segments focused on providing mobile phones, food processing and an online food marketplace for farmers primarily located in Nigeria.

However, Hindenburg Research in its comprehensive report noted that it identified major red flags with Dozy’s background.

He appears to have fabricated his biographical claim to have developed the first mobile payment app in Nigeria, the investigation revealed.

Dozy is regularly described by the media as a billionaire and reports about went viral in 2023 when he attempted to buy Sheffield United, a football club in England which had just gained promotion to the Premier League. He currently serves as the CEO of Tingo Group Holdings, the group’s key holding company entity. He has gained international attention, gracing the cover of GQ Africa in December 2022.

However, Hindenburg Research in its comprehensive report noted that it identified major red flags with Dozy’s background.

According to the report by the research company, in 2019, Dozy claimed to have launched “Tingo Airlines” and posted social media messages encouraging customers to “fly with Tingo Airlines today”.

It noted that it was later uncovered that Tingo photoshopped its logo onto pictures of aeroplanes. Dozy later admitted to never owning any aircraft, saying Covid-19 pandemic affected its kick-off.

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

Tingo’s food division is 7 months old, yet claimed to generate $577.2 million in revenue last quarter alone, representing 68 per cent of total reported revenue.

Rather, it claims its explosive revenue and profitability are derived from acting as a middleman between Nigerian farmers and an unnamed third-party food processor.

In February 2023, the company held a groundbreaking ceremony for a planned $1.6 billion Nigerian food processing facility, attended by Nigeria’s agriculture minister and other political luminaries.

Hindenburg Research found that the rendering of the planned facility, featured in Tingo’s investor materials and on a billboard at the ceremony, is actually a rendering of an oil refinery from a stock photo website.

Following its groundbreaking, Tingo reported in a May 2023 SEC filing that it made “significant progress” on the facility, including laying “the foundations of its numerous buildings”.

When the research firm visited the site a week later, it found zero signs of progress. It described it as empty except for the plaque and billboard commemorating the groundbreaking ceremony, surrounded by weeds.

Tingo Group later debunked the investigation report by Hindenburg Research.

It stated that the report, “which contains numerous errors of fact, together with misleading and libellous content, appears to be a deliberate attempt to undermine the positive work that Tingo Group is undertaking across various worldwide markets”.

The statement further noted that “Tingo Group confirms that it remains in compliance with the laws of the territories in which it operates and maintains the highest standards of corporate governance. The Company also confirms that its accounting records are accurate and correct and that its financial results are accurately reported within its financial statements and its SEC filings.”

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