Muluzi meets Nigerian ‘billionaire’ accused of fraud


Nigerian businessperson Dozy Mmobuosi who is accused of running fraudulent companies met former President Bakili Muluzi this week and launched a K500 million project to construct 100 houses in Malawi.

Dozy is CEO of Tingo Group which has subsidiaries focused on providing mobile phones, food processing and an online food marketplace for farmers primarily located in Nigeria.

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.

This week, the Nigerian man has been in Malawi to launch a housing project for 45 Tropical Cyclone Freddy surviving families in Phalombe.

According to former President Bakili Muluzi, he approached Dozy to assist survivors of the cyclone with houses.

“After a week, I got a call from Dozy Mmobuosi saying he will assist by constructing 100 houses. He has so far put aside K500 million for the houses; each house will cost K5million,” said Mulusi adding that this was a quick response.

Speaking during the launch, Dozy, who is described as a billionaire by news outlets, said he was touched with what he had seen adding that apart from constructing the houses, he will come in with food items and seeds so that those affected should recover.

There are concerns over the Nigerian businessperson’s visit to Malawi following investigation report by Hindenburg Research which poked holes into Tingo’s financial reports.

According to the report, Dozy appears to have fabricated his biographical claim to have developed the first mobile payment app in Nigeria. The app’s actual creator told Hindenburg that Dozy’s claims are “a pure lie”.

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.

The report also reveals that 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, according to Hindenburg, its claimed 24.8% operating margins would exceed those of every major comparable food company.

“Yet, Tingo has no food processing facility of its own. Rather, it claims its explosive revenue and profitability is 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 of its own, attended by the country’s agriculture minister and other political luminaries.

“We 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,” reads part of the Hindenburg report.

Moreover, a recent visit to the site found zero signs of progress; it was empty except for the plaque and billboard commemorating the groundbreaking ceremony, surrounded by weeds.

Tingo Group bought Tingo Foods from Dozy in February 2023 for $204 million, a price “approximately equal to the cost value of the inventory held by Tingo Foods”.

The inventory, which was reported in year-end financials, completely vanished from Tingo’s Q1 2023 accounts without explanation, reported Hindenburg.

“In our experience, $204 million in inventory doesn’t just disappear at companies with internal controls and genuine financial reporting.”

Hindenburg also found that Tingo lied about having a mobile license in Nigeria.

“We visited Tingo Mobile’s office in Nigeria and found only a handful of employees and a sign posted on its door by federal tax authorities stating that the company is delinquent on its tax obligations,” the publication reported.

It adds that Tingo’s financial statements include other basic errors like incorrect math and leaving zeroes off key metrics.

The investigation report also revealed that the company’s cash flow and balance sheet statements do not reconcile and show major errors indicating a complete lack of financial controls.

“Its cash flow statements regularly subtract items from cash that should be added and vice versa.

“The errors also seem to apply to Tingo’s audited annual financial statements, which were recently given an unqualified audit opinion by Deloitte Israel (a strange choice given the company lacks substantive operations in Israel).

“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,” reads part of the report.

Meanwhile, Tingo has dismissed the Hindenburg report as baseless.

“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 company said in a statement.

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