Malawi issues diplomatic passport to Nigerian fraud suspect


Malawi has issued a Malawian diplomatic passport to Nigerian man Dozy Mmobuosi who is accused of fraud.

The Nigerian who is said to be a billionaire was in the country last week where he was granted the passport within two hours after making an application.

The Immigration Department which is notorious for its delays in processing passports, surprisingly moved fast to grant Mmobuosi a passport raising suspicions that it was working under orders from top government officials.

“While thousands of Malawians endure lengthy queues to obtain passports, the Immigration Department inexplicably expedited Mmobuosi’s application, issuing him a diplomatic passport bearing MWD001402 just two hours after submission.

“Notably, this incident occurred after the department’s official closing time of 5 pm as Mmobuosi submitted his passport application, filed under 11338407694, and he was issued the passport shortly after 7 pm,” reported the Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ).

Speaking with PIJ, spokespersons for Homeland Affairs and Foreign Affairs ministries said the directive to issue a passport to Mmobuosi did not come from their ministries.

A source told PIJ that President Lazarus Chakwera is the one who ordered the Immigration Department to issue Mmobousi’s passport after the president held a meeting with former President Bakili Muluzi and Mmobousi at the State House in Lilongwe on June 7.

Chakwera’s spokesperson Anthony Kasunda told PIJ he would comment on the matter after asking his boss while Muluzi said he was in Morocco and would comment after returning to Malawi.

The Nigerian man came to Malawi to launch a housing project for 45 Tropical Cyclone Freddy surviving families in Phalombe under Tigwirane Manje Initiative.

Muluzi, who was appointed by Chakwera as ambassador for the initiative, approached Mmobuosi to assist survivors of the cyclone with houses.

Mmobuosi responded with a pledge to construct 100 houses which will cost K500 million with each house costing K5 million.

Speaking during the launch, Mmobuosi said he was touched with what he had seen and pledged to come in with food items and seeds so that those affected should recover.

It appears that the pledges and Mmobuosi’s presence convinced the Lazarus Chakwera administration that the Nigerian can be trusted with a Malawian diplomatic passport.

In his online profile, Mmobuosi portrays himself as a Founder and CEO of Tingo Group, Inc., Africa’s leading Agri-Fintech company, and Tingo International Holdings, Inc. (TIH), an investment firm focused on targeted acquisitions in the technology sector. He also presents himself as a philanthropist who donates 10 percent of his income.

However, recent revelations show a man whose companies launch projects which are never implemented and lies about offering certain products and services.

Hindenburg Research, an investment research firm, last week published an investigative report which uncovered multiple red flags in Tingo Group’s activities.

According to the report, Mmobuosi in 2019 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 revealed that Tingo’s food division is 7 months old, yet claimed to generate $577.2 million in revenue in one 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.

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.

Hindenburg also found that Tingo lied about having a mobile licence 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.

The report further described Tingo as “a worthless and brazen fraud that should serve as a humiliating embarrassment for all involved.”

However, Tingo 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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