The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Mmobuosi Odogwu Banye, also known as Dozy Mmuobosi, with defrauding investors at three companies by inflating the financial performance of three of his companies: Tingo Group, Agri-Fintech Holdings, and Tingo International Holdings.
The SEC alleges that Mmuobuosi misrepresented information about Tingo's operations and finances. Per a statement filed by the SEC, the company also fabricated customer relationships while "fraudulently obtaining hundreds of millions in money or property through these schemes."
Seeking emergency relief, the SEC aims to halt the dissemination of false information and protect corporate and investor assets. This comes one month after trading of Tingo shares was temporarily suspended by the SEC. According to a statement, the suspension stemmed from inaccuracies disseminated by the company through press releases and periodic filings with the SEC.
Tingo was recently the subject of a Hindenburg report that referred to the company as an "exceptionally obvious scam." Hindenburg's report cast doubt on numerous claims made by Mmobuosi and companies under the Tingo umbrella.
According to the report, Tingo's claims that it had sold more than 12 million smartphones to farmers in Africa were false. Farming cooperatives, supposedly partners in the scheme, denied doing business with the company. Nwassa, an agricultural marketplace launched by Tingo, was never completed, and Hindenburg's research alleged that the business never existed. Mmuobuosi had earlier claimed that the marketplace was processing less than 500,000 transactions as of May 2019, adding that it was expected to grow to 2 million.
In its emergency application, the SEC requests a temporary restraining order freezing Mmuobuosi's assets, prohibiting the transfer of money or property to him, enjoining the sale of Afri-Fintech and Tingo Group stock, preventing the destruction of records, and ordering a show cause for preliminary relief.
The SEC's investigation is ongoing, led by the New York Regional Office with cooperation from Nasdaq's Enforcement Department.