Hindenburg Report: Journalists Arrested over Fake News, Blackmail Attempt on Tingo Group Executives
In an interesting turn of events, Tingo Group, Inc., a leading fintech company, has finally been vindicated over scathing reports by Hindenburg Report some weeks back and an unsuccessful attempt by some unscrupulous journalists to blackmail and extort its executives by spreading fake news in the media.
Not only that, the journalists, one Abiola Aloba and Sunday Adebayo, and others, who were primarily responsible for spreading the false narratives against the founder of Tingo Mobile and Tingo Foods, Dozy Mmobuosi, and attempts at blackmailing the company’s personnel in the Nigerian media, were been arrested, while others are still at large.
The recently concluded investigation into the malicious allegations made by self-professed short seller, Hindenburg, which appeared to have been fed from the arrested journalists, has firmly disproved all such allegations.
Among other things, the investigation confirmed the following:
Firstly, the resignation of Christophe Charlier, a former co-Chairman of Agri-Fintech Holdings, Inc., was clarified, confirming that Charlier had no involvement with Tingo Group, Inc. or its management, and his resignation letter only mentioned communication and teamwork issues at Agri-Fintech Holdings, as opposed to any wrong-doing.
Regarding Tingo Foods, the revenue and operating margin reported in Q1 2023 were confirmed to be accurate, as were its business relationships.
The construction of the Tingo Foods processing facility in Nigeria was confirmed as progressing well, with processing operations expected to begin in Q2 2024. The images used for groundbreaking ceremonies and presentation materials were stock images, while specific renderings of the actual facility are currently being used. In addition, it was confirmed that the Company has contracts in place for the project and also for the construction of a solar power plant to power the facility.
The inventory held by Tingo Foods at the time of its acquisition by the Company in February 2023 was sold to a customer in March 2023, with proceeds received into the Tingo Foods bank account in June 2023.
Tingo Mobile leases mobile phones to farming cooperatives and organizations in Nigeria, including the Kebbi (Dala) Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, the Ailoje Royal Farms Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and the All Farmers Association of Nigeria. The relationships with these cooperatives have been verified.
Tingo Mobile does not in fact directly provide airtime and data services on the phones it leases. These services are provided by a third-party vendor, allowing customers to choose the best network provider. Tingo Mobile earns a commission on airtime and data services purchased by its customers.
Tingo Mobile has purchased mobile phones primarily from UGC Technologies Limited and Bullitt Mobile. Hindenburg mistakenly contacted a different company, UGC Mobile Technologies, rather than Tingo Mobile’s supplier.
Tingo Mobile has paid its corporate income tax and tertiary education tax for the fiscal year 2022 to the Nigeria Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Regarding the company’s operations in Ghana, these are conducted exclusively through its trade agreement with the Ashanti Investment Trust. Tingo Mobile is currently preparing to expand its business in Ghana.
Tingo Mobile entered into partnerships with Visa and Stanbic Bank to develop an integrated e-wallet solution. After a disagreement with Stanbic Bank, Tingo Mobile entered into a partnership and e-wallet integration with Visa.
The Nwassa USSD platform is pre-loaded on Tingo Mobile phones leased to cooperatives and farmers. Farmers can use the platform to make transactions, which are processed by a third-party payment processing company.
Tingo DMCC, the Company’s agricultural export business, has conducted three export sales transactions totaling $348 million with customers in neighboring African countries. The Company is in the process of developing a separate website for Tingo DMCC.
The “errors” identified by Hindenburg in Tingo Group’s financial statements were typographical errors that did not affect the accuracy of the numbers. All required information was included in the relevant filings.
The engagement with auditors, Brightman Almagor Zohar & Co., was based on the location of the Company’s finance function in Israel, where the consolidation process and preparation for financial statements and SEC filings are performed.
The bank balances of Tingo Mobile and Tingo Foods were confirmed through direct communication with the banks, and interviews were conducted over video conference calls.
The journalists, who were arrested by the International Criminal Police Organisation, Interpol, at the Nigerian police headquarters in Abuja, and later released on administrative bail after few days, apologised for the malicious publications.
The company, therefore, was able to disprove all the allegations and reassure stakeholders that all the information in its financial statements and SEC filings are indeed accurate and correct.
Ultimately, actions speak louder than words. Tingo Group’s positive track record, its tangible impact on the Nigerian agricultural sector, and the endorsements from reputable organizations like All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) underscore its huge success and its impressive growth trajectory.