Tingo Group: Fake Farmers, Phones, and Financials—The Nigerian Empire That Isn’t

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  • We are short Tingo Group Inc (NASDAQ:TIO) because we believe the company is an exceptionally obvious scam with completely fabricated financials.
  • Tingo, headquartered in New Jersey, claims to have several business segments focused on providing mobile phones, food processing and an online food marketplace for farmers primarily located in Nigeria.
  • Tingo was founded and is spearheaded by DozyMmobuosi, CEO of the key holding company entity. Dozy is regularly described by the media as a billionaire and made waves earlier this year when he attempted to acquire the now-Premier League soccer team Sheffield United.
  • We’ve identified major red flags with Dozy’s background. For starters, he appears to have fabricated his biographical claim to have developed the first mobile payment app in Nigeria. We contacted the app’s actual creator, who called Dozy’s claims “a pure lie”.
  • Dozy claimed to have received a PhD in rural advancement from a Malaysian university in 2007. We contacted the school to verify the degree. They wrote back saying no one by his name was found in their verification system.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In April 2023, Tingo’s Co-Chairman wrote a public letter to Dozy, filed with the SEC, saying he could not approve the company’s annual report and felt it “necessary to recuse myself by resigning” 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% of total reported revenue. If accurate, 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.
  • 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”.
  • We visited the site a week later and found zero signs of progress; it was empty except for the plaque and billboard commemorating the groundbreaking ceremony, surrounded by weeds.
  • Subsequent to the “groundbreaking”, Tingo announced a $150 million agreement with a UK entity called Evtec Energy to build solar panels for its non-existent food processing facility. Funding for the deal is slated to be provided through Evtec, but UK filings show that Evtec was “Dormant” as of its most recent annual report and held zero cash in the bank.
  • 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. In our experience, $204 million in inventory doesn’t just disappear at companies with internal controls and genuine financial reporting.
  • Tingo claimed in its reverse merger press release that members of 2 unnamed farming cooperatives supply the majority of its then-9.3 million userbase, consisting of local Nigerian farmers. These farmers supposedly form the core of the company’s phone customers and provide the agricultural products used in Tingo’s food processing and trading businesses.
  • A local media outlet identified and contacted the cooperatives. Both said they had never heard of Tingo and had fewer than 100 farmers in each cooperative.
  • We were able to make contact with one of the cooperatives. Its owner reiterated having no relationship with Tingo and flat out told us “they are scammers”.
  • Tingo claimed its mobile handset leasing, call and data segments generated $128 million in revenue last quarter (~15% of total), claiming these services are provided through an agreement with Airtel in Nigeria. The type of license they claim did not exist until June, 2023.
  • Our checks with the Nigerian Communications Commission showed it has no record of Tingo being a mobile licensee at all, despite company claims of having 12 million mobile customers.
  • Despite claiming to have millions of farmers using its phones, Tingo Mobile’s corporate presentation and webpage uses stock photos of farmers using phones.
  • 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.
  • Tingo Mobile claimed a Ghana expansion effort would enroll 2-4 million members by February 2023. This would represent ~9%-18% market share in the country within months of launch. We found zero records pertaining to Tingo Mobile through Ghana’s communication regulator.
  • We tried to contact Tingo’s Ghana support in late May to buy a phone. The email bounced back and no one picked up the phone despite numerous attempts.
  • We visited Tingo’s Ghana office location in late May 2023. We saw 2 cars in the parking lot and no customers. When we tried to enroll in a plan and buy a phone we were told the location wasn’t operational yet.  
  • TingoPay (part of Tingo Mobile) claimed in 2021 to have launched a partnership with a major local bank.
  • Two days after Tingo’s blockbuster announcement, the bank put out a statement calling Tingo’s claim false and that it had “NOT concluded any agreement with Tingo International in respect of any payment system whatsoever”.
  • Tingo now claims its payment group has a point of sale (PoS) system and other merchant products. We found that pictures of Tingo’s claimed PoS system were taken from a different PoS operator’s website, with a Tingo logo photoshopped over them.
  • Tingo claims its “seed to sale” online marketplace called NWASSA generated $125.3 million in revenue last quarter or ~15% of its total revenue, yet the website has been “under maintenance” and inoperable for months.
  • Tingo claims it has launched its NWASSA platform in Ghana. The Ghana website also doesn’t work and just says “Updating…” without ever going anywhere.
  • In a May 2023 press release, Tingo claimed its brand-new agricultural export business, Tingo DMCC, was on track to deliver over U.S. $1.34 billion in exports by Q3.
  • Tingo’s sales projections for that business are higher than the entire nation of Nigeria’s annual 2022 agricultural exports, which totaled about U.S. $1.15 billion, per government data.
  • Despite Tingo’s bold claims, we found no import/export records from Tingo at all through searches of Nigerian customs and trading databases.
  • Tingo DMCC’s website has numerous non-functioning links and includes a fake testimonial that appears leftover from the website template.
  • Tingo’s financial statements are riddled with errors and typos, including a note to itself that it apparently forgot to delete, saying “please update for the tingle (sic) transaction including the tingle (sic) foods transaction”.
  • Its financials include other basic errors like incorrect math and leaving zeroes off key metrics.
  • More troublingly, Tingo’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.

Initial Disclosure: After extensive research, we have taken a short position in shares of Tingo Group Inc (NASDAQ:TIO). This report represents our opinion, and we encourage every reader to do their own due diligence. Please see our full disclaimer at the bottom of the report.

Introduction And Basics On The Business

Tingo Group (NASDAQ:TIO) is a holding company that claims to operate primarily in Nigeria in multiple business segments, including (i) food processing and sales (ii) mobile handset sales & leasing and (iii) an online food marketplace called “Nwassa”. The company has a fully diluted market capitalization of ~$1.5 billion as of this writing, with a recent peak market value of ~$3 billion as of May 22nd, 2023.[1]

The company first went public in August 2021 on the OTC market through a reverse merger with a Thai company that originally intended to acquire a third-tier crypto exchange.

In December 2022, the company entered the Nasdaq by closing another reverse merger with a listed Chinese fintech company. The company was renamed Tingo Group Inc and the ticker changed from MICT to TIO on February 27, 2023.

Tingo was founded in 2001 in Nigeria by DozyMmobuosi, who currently serves as the CEO of Tingo Group Holdings, the group’s key holding company entity.[2] He has gained international attention, gracing the cover of GQ Africa in December 2022.

(Source: GQ)

Regularly described by media as a billionaire, Dozy made further waves in February 2023 when he attempted to buy Sheffield United, an English football team recently promoted to the Premier league. [1,2,3,4] The deal stalled over questions about whether Dozy’s financial resources were genuine.

(Source: CNN interview February 2023, in which Dozy faced questions about his finances)

Part I: Red Flags In Dozy’s Background

Tingo Group Holdings CEO “Dozy” Mmobuosi Appears To Have Fabricated His Biographical Claim To Have Developed The First Mobile Payment App In Nigeria

We Contacted The Actual Creator Of The App Who Called Dozy’s Claim “A Pure Lie”

Despite his claims to be a successful billionaire entrepreneur, we found numerous red flags related to Dozy.

In a May 2020 interview, Dozy told a detailed origin story of what would later serve as a key biographical claim; how, in 2002, he developed the first mobile payment platform in Nigeria. Per the story, he partnered with a bank on the venture after he couldn’t find an easy way to send money to his brother.

At the end of the interview, Dozy claimed he could not mention the product or the bank due to confidentiality reasons:

“Understandably, I can’t mention the product or the bank in question for the sake of confidentiality.”

The lack of disclosure of the mere name of a company built and sold over 15 years ago runs contrary to the norm for essentially every other successful startup founder’s story.

Regardless, his reticence to disclose the name of the app seems to have gone away. The Tingo website now claims Dozy helped launch Nigeria’s first SMS banking solution called “Flashmecash”. Per the website:

“In 2002 he (Dozy) led the design and launch of Nigeria’s first SMS Banking Solution (Flashmecash), later sold to FMCB who still use it today.”

We reached out to Flashmecash’s actual creator, Deji Oguntonade, whom we verified as the inventor via check of Flashmecash’s patent, along with web searches. He informed us that Dozy’s claims were “totally false” and shared a WhatsApp post he wrote to Nigeria’s top fintechs and regulators making clear that Dozy’s claims were a “pure lie”.

The post provided a detailed background on the app, which Oguntonade reiterated had no connection to Dozy.

(Source: LinkedIn message with Hindenburg researcher)

Dozy Claimed To Have Received a PhD In Rural Advancement From Malaysian University UPM In 2007

We Contacted UPM To Verify The Degree. They Wrote Back Saying No One By His Name Was Found In Their Verification System

In his Tingo biography, Dozy claimed to have received a PhD in Rural Advancement from Malaysian university UPM in 2007. We contacted the school to confirm this credential. An administrator in the graduate studies department confirmed that the database has records from 2007 and earlier, but that Dozy’s name, including several variations we tried were “not found for verification”.[3]

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

In 2017, Dozy was arrested in Nigeria and faced 8 charges including conspiracy, obtaining by false pretense and issuance of approximately U.S. $70,000 in bad checks, according to the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The case was later settled in arbitration, according to local media and company filings. [Pg. 13]

(Source: Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Official Facebook page)

In 2019, Dozy Claimed To Launch “Tingo Airlines” And Posted Social Media Messages Encouraging Customers To “Fly With Tingo Airlines Today”

Media Outlets Uncovered That Tingo Had Photoshopped Its Logo On Pictures Of Airplanes. Dozy Later Admitted To Never Owning Any Actual Aircraft

In August 2019, Dozy launched Tingo Airlines, which declared share capital of £1 billion, according to UK company records.

Per reporting by The Athletic, November 2020 Facebook messages urged customers to “fly with Tingo Airlines today”.

The company also had an Instagram page where it posted photoshopped pictures of planes with a Tingo logo on them. The page was removed after observers noticed that the planes had too many windows and were missing a door, owing to a poor photoshop job.

(Pictured: Tingo Airlines fake photoshopped planes. Source: The Athletic, which located the pictures from the since-deleted @TingoAirlines Instagram account)

Dozy later confessed in a CNN interview to never owning the planes, blaming the failed launch of the airline on Covid.

(Source: The Sun)

In April 2023, Tingo’s Co-Chairman Wrote A Public Letter To Dozy, Filed With The SEC, Saying He Could Not Approve The Company’s Annual Report And Felt It “Necessary To Recuse Myself By Resigning” Due To “Many Critical Questions, Comments And Recommendations” That Went “Unanswered And Unheeded”

In September 2021, Christophe Charlier was named co-Chairman of Tingo Inc., tweeting at the time that he was “excited” to work toward “transforming rural farming communities.”

However, less than 2 years later, in April 2023, Charlier resigned suddenly, stating in a letter addressed to Dozy and filed with the SEC:

“I have made numerous efforts to implement best corporate governance practices…Despite my efforts…many critical questions, comments and recommendations which I have sent to management and the Board have once again remained unanswered and unheeded. As a result, I will not be in a position to approve the 10K for 2022 prepared by management and feel it necessary to recuse myself by resigning from the Board”.[4]

Part II: Red Flags With Tingo Foods

When reviewing Tingo’s claimed business segments and operations, we begin to understand why Charlier may have made his decision.

Tingo’s Food Division Claimed To Generate $577.2 Million In Revenue And $143.5 Million In Operating Income Last Quarter Alone, Representing ~68% Of Reported Revenue And 24.8% Operating Margins

The vast majority of Tingo’s claimed revenue is derived from Tingo Foods, an entity that was formed in August 2022. The company claims, within the exact same filing, that it “commenced food processing operations” in August 2022 and September 2022.[5] [Pg. 8]

Tingo acquired the 7-month-old entity from Dozy in February 2023 via a $204 million, 2-year, 5% promissory note. [Pg. 28]

Despite the entity existing for less than a year, Tingo’s quarterly report said Tingo Foods generated a whopping $577.2 million in just 2 months (February and March), putting it on pace for $3.4 billion in annual revenue and $861 million in annual operating income. [Pg. 18]

Tingo Claims Its Explosive Revenue Growth And Industry Leading Margins Are Generated By Acting As A Middleman Between Farmers And An Unnamed Third Party That Manages Its Food Processing

Tingo doesn’t have a processing facility of its own. Rather, the company claims that it has outsourced its processing to an unnamed third party. [Pg. 13] Despite simply acting as a middleman, Tingo claims its operating margins, a key measure of profitability, are higher than every major food company on earth at 24.8%.

(Source: FactSet, Tingo’s press release [Pg. 2], Hindenburg analysis)

We checked Tingo Foods’ website to learn more about its unparalleled profitability and its outsourced partner. It provided virtually no information. The website’s “products” section consisted of only 4 stock photos of food items with no details on its services.

Source: (Tingo Foods’ “products” website)

In February 2023, Tingo Held A Groundbreaking Ceremony For Construction Of A $1.6 Billion Food Processing Facility

The Rendering Of The Planned Facility, Featured In Tingo’s Investor Materials And On A Billboard At The Groundbreaking Ceremony Is A Picture Of An Oil Refinery From A Stock Photo Website

Tingo seems unsatisfied with its industry-leading operating margins earned by working with its mystery processing partner. In early 2023, the company announced plans to construct a $1.6 billion food processing facility in Nigeria, with completion scheduled for mid-2024. [Pg. 28]

Company presentations and other advertisements showed a rendering of the planned facility, as seen below from local media:

(Source: This Day newspaper [Pg. 42])

The same picture appeared in Tingo’s investor presentation and was featured on a billboard at the groundbreaking of the facility, held on February 9th, 2023. [Pg. 8]

(Image Source: NewsPlanetInternational)

The ceremony was attended by luminaries of government, including the minister of Agriculture, along with numerous local leaders and other attendees. Media covered the event extensively, which featured local dancers and other fanfare.

An internet search reveals that the rendering of Tingo’s planned facility in its investor materials and its groundbreaking billboard matches a picture from stockphoto website ArtStation. Metadata from the stockphoto page indicates that the picture has been for sale since 2018, 5 years prior to Tingo’s use of the photo.[6] The site licenses the picture for $209.

Furthermore, the picture is titled “A large completed Refinery”. Tingo apparently chose a stock photo of an oil refinery to represent its food processing facility.

(Source: ArtStation)

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”

We Visited The Site A Week Later And Found Zero Signs Of Progress, Including No Foundations

The Site Was Empty, But For The Plaque And Cinderblocks Commemorating The Groundbreaking Ceremony, The Billboard With The Stock Oil Refinery Photo, A Rail Container And Overgrown Weeds

In its Q1 2023 results filing, reported May 15th, Tingo said that since its groundbreaking, it has made significant progress:

“Since then [the groundbreaking ceremony], significant progress has been made on the construction of the facility including the installation of infrastructure, drainage, water supply and the foundations of its numerous buildings.”

Intrigued at how the company could so rapidly move from buying a stock photo of an oil refinery to laying “foundations of its numerous buildings”, we decided to pay the site a visit on May 24th, 2023.

We found several cinderblocks that were in place as part of the ceremony, but not one single additional brick or additional site prep, despite the company’s claims and supposedly being only 18-24 months away from targeted completion.

(Pictured: Tingo’s claimed in-construction food processing facility, May 24th 2023, showing a pile of cinderblocks)
(Pictured: Tingo’s groundbreaking ceremony, showing the same bricks and commemorative placard seen in our visit months later)

Click here to see a brief video of a 360 degree look at the site, which consists solely of the sign with the stock photo of the oil refinery, overgrown brush, a shipping container, and the plaque commemorating the groundbreaking.

Tingo Announced A $150 Million Agreement With A UK Entity Called Evtec Energy To Build Solar Panels For Its Non-Existent Food Processing Facility

UK Filings Show That Evtec Was “Dormant” As Of Its Most Recent Annual Report, And Held Zero Cash In The Bank

On February 22, 2023, as part of its food processing facility project, Tingo announced an agreement with UK-based Evtec Energy Plc. Together, the two planned to build a $150 million solar plant near Tingo’s food-processing facility using Evtec’s “advanced energy-tech”, with Evtec footing the bill.

Evtec Energy’s UK filings show that the entity was dormant as of its most recent 2022 annual report, and held exactly zero cash in the bank at the time:

Evtec’s name was in fact only recently changed to Evtec; it was called “UK Investment Securities Plc” until September 2022.

Given the above, it is difficult for us to believe Tingo’s claims that any funding would be provided through Evtec, or that it had any “advanced energy-tech”—rather it appears it was a dormant shell company now being used to prop up Tingo’s claims.[7]

At risk of pummeling readers with the obvious, from our site visit on May 24, 2023, we found no evidence of any development at all, solar or otherwise. 

(Photo: Tingo’s claimed in-construction food processing facility, May 24, 2023. No solar panels in sight.)

All told, we strongly suspect Tingo’s claimed food processing business is completely fraudulent.

The Company 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

As noted above, Tingo acquired Tingo foods in February 9, 2023. [Pg. 9] The purchase price was based on the cost of Tingo Foods’ claimed inventory at the time, per a later Tingo proxy statement filed with the SEC:

“As consideration for the Acquisition, TINGO GROUP agreed to pay Mr. Mmobuosi a purchase price approximately equal to the cost value of the inventory held by Tingo Foods, to be satisfied by the issuance of a secured promissory note (“Promissory Note”) in the amount of US$204,000,000.” [Pg. F-95]

These inventories correspond closely to Tingo Foods’ audited financial statements, which show it had about $201.1 million in inventory as of year-end 2022. [Pg. 10] [8]

However, the Q1 2023 10-Q – in which Tingo Foods is consolidated – has zero mentions of inventory. Not a single line for inventory on the balance sheet, nor changes in inventory on the statement of cash flows, nor any other mention at all.[9]

There is no attempted explanation in the filing for how $204 million in inventory that had been acquired less than 2 months earlier had vanished entirely.

We suspect no inventory ever existed because Tingo Foods as a whole seems to not exist. As we explore later, Tingo’s financial statements are rife with other major red flags indicating that they are likely completely fabricated.

Part III: Tingo Mobile

Tingo Claimed Its Mobile Handset Leasing, Call And Data Segments Generated $128 Million In Revenue Last Quarter (~15% Of Total)

Core to Tingo’s claims is that it has a massive userbase consisting of rural farmers that use its mobile products. These users serve as the backbone of the entire company as Tingo claims to offer the farmers other services like food processing and food exports.

According to SEC filings, Tingo Mobile was launched by Dozy in 2001, the earliest division of the company. [Pg. 22] Archived versions of Tingo’s website claimed that it rapidly expanded upon launch, having completed the “design and distribution of  8 million phones for Nigerian farmers” by March 2014.

Tingo apparently managed to achieve this feat without the benefit of a website. The Tingo Mobile website was created in October 2015, according to DNS records.

(Source: GoDaddy Whois search)

According to its current website, Tingo claims to have sold 30 million mobile devices since inception. Its most recent investor presentation says the company has 12 million active mobile customers. [Pg. 7]

Tingo Claimed In Its Reverse Merger Press Release That 2 Unnamed Farming Cooperatives Supplied The Majority Of Its Then-9.3 Million Userbase, Consisting Of Local Farmers

A Local Media Outlet Identified And Contacted The Cooperatives. Both Said They Had Never Heard of Tingo And Had Fewer Than 100 Farmers In Each Cooperative

We Were Able To Make Contact With One Of The Cooperatives. Its Owner Said It Has No Relationship With Tingo And Flat Out Told Us “They Are Scammers.”

Tingo said in an October 2022 press release that its userbase is largely derived through contractual relationships with “two large farmers’ cooperatives” which “facilitates the distribution of Tingo branded smartphones into various rural communities of member farmers”.

Its recent 10-Q similarly reiterated its reliance on farming cooperatives for “each of our current subscribers”. [Pg. 27]

Given that Tingo’s farmer userbase is key to its entire business and the 2 cooperatives are key to its userbase, these are critical relationships.

While the farmer’s cooperatives went unnamed in the company’s press release, an earlier article from local media outlet Weetracker (paywalled) was able to identify them.

In March 2022, Weetracker interviewed a Tingo spokesperson along with local experts to understand the company’s userbase claims, which totaled 12 million at the time. One local expert in Nigerian agriculture told the outlet:

“I’ve been in this field for more than 20 years and I have built agric distribution chains from all the key farming geographies in the country for some of the biggest companies. Trust me, if any platform has as little as 1,000 farmers, I would know. Let alone 12 million farmers? No single private platform has up to 500,000 farmers in Nigeria at the moment”

Tingo’s chief of staff, Rory Bowen, responded by claiming that the farmers might simply not know they are using Tingo, because it works with farmer cooperatives and not with the farmers directly.

“We don’t deal with farmers directly, that may be why they don’t know the brand. We have relationships with two main cooperatives: Kebbi Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society and Ailoje Royal Farms Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society. They help us reach 4-5 million farmers each.”

It is relatively unfathomable that millions of farmers using “Tingo-branded smartphones”, per the company’s annual report, would be unaware of Tingo. [Pg. 83] Putting that absurdity aside for the moment, Weetracker reached out to both cooperatives and found that neither had heard of Tingo. Per the same article:

“WeeTracker reached out to the leaders of both cooperatives and, strangely, they claimed they had never heard of Tingo, nor did they have millions of farmers under their organization with each of them volunteering that they have much less than 100 farmers.”[10]

The leader of one of the cooperatives said:

“It is simply not true, I don’t know anything about this company and I’ve been running this cooperative for years.”

We reached out to one of the cooperatives named in the piece, the Ailoje Royal Farms Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society. Its owner told us that Tingo are “scammers”.[11]

(Pictured: Hindenburg investigator’s chat with owner of the Ailoje Royal Farms Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society)

Our Checks With The Nigerian Communications Commission Show That It Has No Record Of Tingo Being A Mobile Licensee At All, Despite Company Claims To Have 12 Million Mobile Customers

Adding more fuel to our skepticism, Tingo’s 30+ million claimed mobile sales come despite the Nigerian Communications Commission (“NCC”) having no record of Tingo as a licensee at all:

(Source: Nigerian Communications Commission showing Tingo is not a licensee, either individually or as any class such as “sales & installation”)

Beyond licensing, the NCC also requires operators to have their individual pricing plans approved. Tingo appears nowhere on these official lists either. [13]

*Update Post-Publication*: Tingo Claims That It Offers Its Mobile Services Through A Mobile Virtual Network (“MNVO”) Agreement With Nigerian Telecom Operator Airtel

Airtel Wrote Denying The Relationship Entirely: “Airtel Nigeria Does Not Have Any MVNO Arrangement With Any Company Called Tingo Mobile.”

For context, Tingo says in its filings that it has an agreement with Airtel to provide voice and data services under a Mobile Virtual Network Operators (“MVNO”) arrangement:

“Through a Mobile Virtual Network agreement with Airtel, Tingo Mobile provides its customers in Nigeria with voice and data services.” [Pg. 20][12]

We recently reached out to Airtel and corresponded with its Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Nigeria, who said he would check on the existence and nature of the claimed partnership. Following the initial publication of our report, Airtel’s investor relations responded, denying it had a relationship with Tingo Mobile.

Tingo Mobile’s Corporate Presentation And Webpage Use Stock Photos Of Farmers Using Phones

Despite claiming to have millions of farmers using its mobile devices, Tingo’s corporate presentation and webpage use stock photos of farmers with phones. Per a corporate presentation:

(Source: Tingo’s May 15, 2023 investor presentation)

The same picture is available for free on Shutterstock with a description “young black African farmer checking interesting content on smart phone”.

(Source: Shutterstock)

The corporate presentation has another photo of African farmers that are meant to look like they are using Tingo phones:

(Source: Tingo’s May 15, 2023 investor presentation [Pg. 5])

But once again, the photo can be found on Adobe Stock under the header “excited African couple doing internet banking on their farmland.”

(Source: Adobe Stock)

Beyond the apparent extensive use of stock photos for its website, Tingo Mobile shows few other signs of life. Its Facebook page has a mere 733 likes and 926 followers, not what one would expect for a provider that has more than 12 million users.

(Source: Facebook)

Similarly, Tingo Mobile’s Twitter page has 227 followers and hasn’t posted anything since October 2016. Its Instagram page has 515 followers.

Tingo Claims It Has Two “Sole Suppliers Of Mobile Phones”, With The Relationships In Place Since 2020 and 2022, Respectively

During This Time Period, Tingo Announced A Massive 2.9 Million Handset Deal, In Addition To Its Sales And Servicing Of 9+ Million Mobile Customers

Despite Millions Of Claimed Unit Sales, Representatives Of Both Suppliers Told Us Neither Has Provided Any Phones to Tingo: “We Do Not Provide Even A Single Unit To Them”

One Supplier Said Tingo Doesn’t Even Have A Contract, Despite Claims In Tingo’s SEC Filings That It Does

Tingo’s 2022 annual report says that “UGC Technologies Company Limited and Bullitt Mobile Limited are TGH Group’s sole suppliers of mobile phones at present.” [Pg. 10]

Per the same filing, Tingo says the relationships have been in place since March 2020 and January 2022, respectively.

Beyond its need to sell and service its claimed 9+ million mobile customers, it was during this time period that Tingo announced a major handset deal. Per its annual report:

“…in Q4 2021 Tingo Mobile sold an additional 2.9 million handsets to a non-agricultural cooperative in Nigeria” [Pg. 8]

We therefore would expect the suppliers to have collectively sold millions of phones to Tingo. However, when we spoke with representatives from each, they told us that neither of the claimed suppliers had sold a single phone to Tingo.

Tingo’s filings state with respect to UGC:

“In March 2020, Tingo Mobile entered into a mobile phone procurement contract with UGC Technologies Company Limited” [Pg. 10]

We spoke with UGC’s Troy, Michigan-based CEO, Busty Okendaye, who explained that UGC had no contract with Tingo. UGC had bid on a contract to provide phones to Tingo about 3 years ago, but after submitting its proposal, it never heard back:

“They did not even reply to us – not even verbally or in writing. We submitted our own bid, but we did not get a response from them.”

He also expressly denied that UGC has sold any phones to Tingo, telling us:

“We do not provide not even a single unit to them. We manufacture mobile phones, but we don’t produce for them.”

Tingo further states in its 2022 annual report that it entered into its second supply agreement in January 2022, this one with UK-based Bullitt Mobile. [Pg. 10] A representative for Bullitt confirmed that the company had signed a contract to provide phones in the future but has not provided any phones to date.

We Visited Tingo Mobile’s Office In Nigeria And Found A Sign Posted On Its Door By Federal Tax Authorities Stating That The Company Is Delinquent On Its Tax Obligations

Given the massive red flags, we decided to inspect the company’s physical locations as reported in its SEC filings. Per Tingo Group’s annual report, Tingo Mobile has 2 locations in Nigeria [Pg. 78]:

  1. Allianz Towers, 95 Broad Street Marina Lagos.
  2. 93 Dr Kenneth Ojo Crescent Lingo Estate Sahara 4, Lokogoma, FCT, Abuja

Our investigator visited Allianz Towers during working hours in late May.

(Pictured: Allianz office tower. Source: Hindenburg investigator)

There was no visible street-level signage, but our investigator found the Tingo office on the 4th floor of the building. It was lightly staffed with around 6-8 people. The office door had a conspicuous sign placed by the tax authorities highlighting that the company was not compliant with its federal tax obligations.

(Pictured: Tingo Mobile office front door. Source: Hindenburg investigator)

The second location listed in Tingo’s filings tracks to an area that looks residential. The latest Google street view picture of the address is from October 2021, depicting a residential structure in development.

Tingo Mobile Claimed its Ghana Expansion Efforts Would Enroll 2-4 Million Members By February 2023. This Would Represent 9%-18% Market Share In The Country Within Months

We Found Zero Records Pertaining To Tingo Mobile Through Ghana’s Communication Regulator

Tingo claims to be copying its Nigeria playbook in Ghana– open an office, distribute phones, help farmers:

On November 10, 2022, Tingo Mobile opened a new regional head office in Ghana and launched operations there. In conjunction with the launch, Tingo Mobile also announced an agreement with the Ashanti Investment Trust, the investment arm of the Ashanti Kingdom, to enroll a minimum of 2 million new members in Ghana with Tingo Mobile within 120 days of signing and has agreed on a target to increase such enrollments to at least 4 million members.”[14] [Pg. 3]

The Company threw a launch event in November 2022, but it is unclear whether any of the new subscribers ever materialized within the 120 days (i.e., February 2023) as claimed.

Ghana’s Communications regulator – the National Communications Authority (NCA) – has zero records pertaining to Tingo Mobile – zero licenses and zero mentions on the website, just as was the case for Tingo and the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The NCA website says the nation at large has 22.76 million mobile data subscriptions as of January 2023. Tingo’s claims would suggest that it already took over ~9%-18% of the entire nation’s market share despite having no license to do so.

We Tried Contacting Tingo’s Ghana Support To Buy A Phone

The Email Bounced Back And No One Picked Up The Phone, Despite Numerous Attempts

We tried contacting Tingo Mobile in Ghana through the phone and email details on its website, to see how it might be growing so rapidly.

(Source: Tingo Mobile Ghana website)

The phone number appears to be defunct, as we called at various times without an answer. The email address also appears invalid, as it bounced back when we tried to reach out.

We Visited Tingo’s Ghana Office Location In Late May 2023

We Saw 2 Cars In The Parking Lot And No Customers. When We Tried To Buy A Plan Or A Phone We Were Told The Location Wasn’t Operational Yet

As a last-ditch effort to buy a Tingo Mobile Ghana phone, we visited its office location on May 25th, 2023 during working hours. Our investigator reported seeing only two cars in the parking lot. There were no customers in the store and when they tried to buy a plan or a phone an employee told them the location wasn’t operational yet.

(Tingo Mobile Ghana building and parking lot during working hours. Source: Hindenburg investigator)

TingoPay (Part Of Tingo Mobile) Claimed In 2021 To Have Launched A Partnership With A Major Local Bank

2 Days After Tingo’s Blockbuster Announcement, The Bank Issued A Statement Calling Tingo’s Claim False And That It Had “NOT Concluded Any Agreement With Tingo International In Respect Of Any Payment System Whatsoever”

Tingo has made other questionable claims relating to its mobile division. On March 31st, 2021, Tingo announced it was expanding its mobile services by launching “Tingo Pay” through a partnership with Stanbic IBTC Bank.

(Source: Inclusion Times)

Two days after Tingo’s announcement, the bank issued a statement declaring Tingo’s announcement to be false.

(Source: Stanbic bank website)

Stanbic said that while it had a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tingo, it clarified:

“(Stanbic) has NOT concluded any agreement with Tingo International in respect of any payment system whatsoever, including ‘Tingo Pay’.”

Tingo Now Claims Its Payment Group Has Point Of Sale (PoS) And Other Merchant Products

We Found That Pictures of Tingo’s Claimed PoS System Were Taken From A Different PoS Operator’s Website, With A Tingo Logo Photoshopped Over Them

In its latest filings, Tingo claims it relaunched TingoPay as a new “Super App” in 2023 in partnership with Visa. [Pg. 9] We reached out to Visa to learn more but have yet to hear back on the relationship. We could find no links, or evidence of a new TingoPay app in the GooglePlay or Apple stores.[15]

Per its website, Tingo Mobile now offers a TingoPay POS system, presumably as part of its partnership. The website has 2 pictures of the system.

The first image appears to have been lifted from hardware offered by an Indian payments company called PoketPOS, that launched a PoS device around 3 years ago, before Tingo’s claimed offering. Tingo seems to have simply photoshopped its own logo onto the picture of the competitor’s product. Here is Tingo’s website:

And here is the competitor’s website, showing a picture of identical PoS hardware without the Tingo logo from 3 years prior:

(Source: PoketPOS)

The second TingoPay PoS picture from the company’s website is seen below:

(Source Tingo Mobile website)

Once again, it appears to be a ripoff of a picture from a Chinese manufacturer with the Tingo logo photoshopped onto the picture of the hardware. The Chinese manufacturer also launched its product around 3 years ago, before Tingo’s claimed offering:

(Source: ECPlaza)

Part IV: Tingo’s “NWASSA” Market

NWASSA: A “Seed to Sale” Online Marketplace That Tingo Claimed Generated $125.3 Million In Revenue Last Quarter (Or ~15% Of Total)

The Website Has Been “Under Maintenance” And Inoperable For Months

Tingo claims that its NWASSA platform is a groundbreaking innovation that cuts out middlemen by allowing farmers to sell products wholesale or retail directly in their home marketplaces. The company calls it “Africa’s leading digital agriculture ecosystem”. [Pg. 3]

Last quarter, Tingo reported $125.3 million in revenue through NWASSA, putting it on track for $501 million in annual revenue. [Pg. 15]

The company has been inconsistent about when it supposedly launched NWASSA. In an interview with Techpoint in 2019, Dozy said he launched the NWASSA platform in January 2019. In an investor results conference call from March 2023, the story changed, with Dozy claiming it was launched in 2020.

Putting aside the mystery of when the platform was launched, the company has declared it to be a huge success. As early as July 2021 it claimed NWASSA platform “processes 500k daily transactions with a value of over $8 million”, implying ~180 million annual transactions.

The company has indicated that its explosive NWASSA business was taking place via a “USSD GSM transaction platform” a system of text messaging orders (i.e., “Press 2 to order rice”). We could find no evidence in media, company filings, or the company’s website that such a system exists aside from Dozy’s claims that 15 million transactions per month are processed in this way. [Pg. 10, Pgs. 20-21]

Curiously, DNS records for the NWASSA web domain show it was registered in May 2022, 2-3 years after the claimed launch date of the platform (depending on which launch date you pick).

(Source: GoDaddy Whois search)

Given its ample reported revenue, we expected the NWASSA webpage to have detailed information on its text message ordering system, along with a bustling online marketplace.

But our recent efforts to access the platform showed only that the website has been “under maintenance” for months, providing no information and no ability to shop.

(Source: NWASSA website accessed multiple times over the course of months)

Historical Captures Of The NWASSA Website Show That It Was Never Fully Completed

The Website Still Included Test Images. None Of The Products Had Reviews Or Ratings

Historical archives of the website from January of this year show that the now “under maintenance” site was never fully developed. It listed its first product as “test”.

(Pictured: Historical capture of NWASSA Market from January 2023. Source: Wayback Machine)

None of the products we saw had any reviews or ratings. We saw no information on how to order through any USSD GSM text messaging system either.

Tingo Claims It Launched Its NWASSA Platform In Ghana In November 2022

The Ghana Website Also Doesn’t Work, And Just Says “Updating…” Without Ever Going Anywhere

Historical Captures Of The Webpage Show That None Of The Products Had Reviews Or Ratings

With its claimed success in Nigeria, Tingo decided to take its show on the road, launching its NWASSA market in Ghana around November 2022, saying it would replicate “the same proven business model” from Nigeria.

On some level those efforts have come to fruition as the Ghana website also fails to load, simply saying it is “Updating…” without going anywhere.

(Pictured: NWASSA Market Ghana homepage accessed late May to early June 2023, which says it is “Updating…”)

Screen captures from earlier versions of the Ghana website show that at various times the company did offer products, again with no reviews and no sign of actual sales.

In one instance, the company offered a bag of “Ting Rice” of unspecified quantity for the equivalent of about U.S. $2,500. Ghana’s GDP per capita is about U.S. $2,400. Note that the picture of the rice was that of a bag marked “Tingo Beans”.

(Source: Tingo NWASSA Ghana market screenshot, from when the website “worked” and was selling $2,500 bags of rice labeled as beans)

Part V: Tingo DMCC

In A May 2023 Press Release, Tingo Claimed Its Agricultural Export Business, Tingo DMCC, Was On Track To Deliver Over U.S. $1.34 Billion In Exports By Q3

Tingo’s Sales Projections Are Higher Than The Entire Nation Of Nigeria’s Annual 2022 Agriculture Exports, Which Totaled About U.S. $1.15 Billion, Per Government Data

On May 30th, 2023, Tingo announced yet another exciting development and milestone. Per the release, Tingo claimed it had completed $348 million in export sales through its new subsidiary, Tingo DMCC, a commodity trading platform based out of Dubai. [Pg. 3]

The same release claimed it expected to complete an additional $1 billion in orders by Q3, for a total of $1.34 billion and an annual run rate of $1.78 billion.

Putting this figure in perspective, the 2022 annual agricultural exports for the entire country of Nigeria totaled about U.S. $1.15 billion,[16] according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Tingo therefore claims to be on track to eclipse the amount of the entire country’s exports within 9 months.

As a reminder, Tingo does not produce, harvest or process any agricultural goods on its own. The company does not claim to own warehouses or trucks used for Tingo DMCC. Instead, it claims to act as a middleman in these transactions—between the Nigerian farmers, farm collectives and unnamed export partners.

Note that Tingo claimed its gross profit on $348 million in food exports for which it is totally a middleman is “approaching $100 million”, or about 29%, which, if genuine, would likely place Tingo as the most profitable food export business in the world.

We Found No Import/Export Records From Tingo At All Through Searches Of Nigerian Customs Databases

A search of Nigerian customs data provided through import / export aggregator Tradesparq yielded no results when searched for keywords “Tingo”, “Tingo DMCC”, “Tingo group”, “Tingo Mobile” and “Tingo Foods”.

The Tradeparq customs data covered the periods January 2019 to April 2023 for imports, and January 2021 to April 2023 for exports. A search for competitor “Nestle” yielded over 2,000 export entries alone.

Similarly, utilizing ImportGenius, we were also unable to find any import-export record from Tingo or any of its subsidiaries or trade partners.

Needless to say, this is a massive red flag indicating that Tingo’s claimed exports may be a total fabrication.

Tingo DMCC’s Website Has Numerous Non-Functioning Links And Includes A Fake Testimonial That Appears Leftover From The Website Template

Tingo’s DMCC website was newly registered in 2022. It appears to have no live trading and no ability to set up an active trading account. All links go to prices on external website www.TradingView.com. The website has numerous non-functioning links and circular references that redirect back to the main home page.

The website includes a fake testimonial that appears leftover from the website template. The same “Gabriel Denis” in Tingo’s testimonial is mentioned in multiple other websites that share the same format. [1,2,3]

(Source: www.tingodmcc.com showing a testimonial from “Gabriel Denis”)
(Other testimonials from “Gabriel Denis” from other websites using a similar template, [1, 2])

Part VI: Tingo’s Financials Seem Completely Fabricated

Given Tingo’s irregularities, with no signs of genuine customers, products, facilities, or really much of anything at all except bad photoshopping skills, one might wonder about the company’s glowing reported financials.

As a reminder, the company has a claimed cash balance of $780 million, and quarterly revenue and net income of $851 million and $177 million, respectively. [Pgs. 1, 3]

Tingo Financial Statements Are Riddled With Errors And Typos, Including A Note To Itself That It Apparently Forgot To Delete: “Please Update For The Tingle (sic) Transaction”

In what might be considered foreshadowing, Tingo’s annual report filed with the SEC includes a note to itself, with its own company name spelled wrong, that it forgot to delete. The report’s related party transactions note implores someone to “Please update for the tingle transaction including the tingle foods transaction.”

(Source: Tingo’s Annual report filed with the SEC. [Pg. 106])

The section as reported didn’t end up including the Tingo Foods (or “tingle foods”) transaction.

In another instance, Tingo Mobile, the “Comprehensive Platform Service” segment, claimed $253.466 million in revenues in Q1 2023:

(Source: Tingo Q1 2023 10-Q [Pg. 29])

The explanatory note to these results then says the following:

“Gross profit related to the Comprehensive Platform Service segment for the three months ended March 31, 2023, was $156,010,000 representing a gross margin of 24%.” [Pg. 30]

While the note says the gross margin was 24%, math would suggest that the gross margin is actually 61.55% (i.e., $156.01 million in gross profits divided by $253.466 million in revenues.)

Similarly (shown below), the company seemingly forgot to add 3 zeroes to its cost of revenues for its Food Processing segment. We suspect it meant to report $348,896,000 (versus $348,896, which would give the segment an impressive 99.94% gross margin):

(Source: Tingo Q1 2023 10-Q [Pg. 30])

More Troublingly, Tingo’s Cash Flow And Balance Sheet Statements In Both Its Audited Annual And Unaudited Quarterly Filings Appear To Have Glaring Issues

Beyond typos and other errors in notes, the company’s core financial statements also exhibit major irregularities.

The company seems to get its signs/directions confused. For example, with every other company we are aware of, a reduction in accounts receivable is considered a source in cash, given that the it means the accounts were paid.

Contrary to this, Tingo’s financial professionals seem to think that a $150 million reduction in accounts receivables somehow drains the company of cash, per its latest quarterly report.

(Source: Tingo Q1 2023 10-Q [Pg. 6])

The issue goes beyond its cash flow statements. Despite Tingo’s cash flow statement reporting that receivables decreased by $150.1 million, Tingo’s balance sheet in the same period reported that receivables increased by $345.2 million.

(Source: Tingo’s Q1 2023 balance sheet [Pg. 1])

We couldn’t find any explanation for the $495.3 million accounts receivable discrepancy and suspect neither the trade receivables or cash balances are real.[17]

The issue is not just isolated to Tingo’s unaudited quarterly report. Its annual report, which was audited and given a clean audit opinion, seems to suffer from the same issues. [Pg. F-11] It’s balance sheet shows a $6.3 million annual reduction in trade receivables while its cash flow statement shows an increase of $7.7 million in the same line item. [Pgs. F-6, F-11]) The annual report also includes the supposed accounts receivable increase as a source of cash in its cash flow statements, again mixing up the signs.

Note that the above is just a sampling of the issues. We identified similar issues with accounts payable, deferred taxes, current liabilities and PP&E.

In short, Tingo seems to have little financial controls whatsoever and its auditor seems to have completely missed it.

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

Tingo claimed to have $780 million in cash as of Q1 2023. [Pg. 1] Per the same financials:

“The majority of the cash is held at its bank in Nigeria, and there are certain foreign exchange restrictions in place that limit the conversion of such cash into US Dollars” [Pg. 31]

Despite its claims, Tingo has received far less interest on its cash than one would expect.

Interest rates on Nigerian deposits are around 8%. Tingo supposedly had $500 million in cash at year-end 2022 and $780 million at the end of Q1. If we conservatively assume a $600 million average cash balance, Tingo should have received about $12 million in interest income for the quarter. However, the company reported just $1.4 million. [Pg. 31]

Tingo’s Auditor Is An Israeli Firm That’s Part Of The Deloitte Global Network

It Gave Tingo A Clean Audit Opinion For 2022 Despite What We View As Glaring, Obvious Anomalies That Even Basic Auditing Checks Would Have Spotted From A Mile Away

The issues in Tingo’s financials are glaring enough that we’d expect they could have been spotted by any semi-conscious finance undergrad with severe vision loss.

These issues were apparently not glaring enough for the company’s auditor, however.

In October 2022, Tingo’s auditor, Friedman LLP resigned. [Pg. 94] In Friedman’s place stepped Brightman Almagor Zohar & Co., a firm in the Deloitte global network. The Israeli-based audit office is an odd choice given that Tingo has no signs of substantive operations in Israel. In its 2022 audit, “Deloitte Israel” gave Tingo an unqualified audit opinion. [Pg. F-3]

For 2022, Tingo disclosed that it paid over $1.5 million to its auditors for audit related fees including its annual audit and reviews of quarterly reports. [Pg. 106]

Given the obvious errors, we suspect Deloitte Israel missed or rushed through procedures that would have uncovered important findings. Deloitte is a big-4 firm with a reputation worthy of protecting. We hope it chooses to do so.

Conclusion: We Think Tingo Is A Brazen Fraud That Should Serve As A Humiliating Embarrassment For All Involved

Tingo is a word in the Pascuense language of Easter Island meaning, “to borrow objects from a friend’s house, one by one, until there’s nothing left.”

For a company that did an otherwise terrible job trying to pretend to be a real business, it landed on an absolutely perfect name.

We expect Tingo will not be long for this world—another cautionary tale.

Disclosure: We Are Short Shares of Tingo Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: TIO)

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[1] As of Tingo’s most recent Post Effective registration amendment, the company had 164,037,382 common shares outstanding as of May 23rd, 2023 [Pg. 10] plus 26,042,808 common shares issuable upon its Series A conversion and 336,872,138  common shares issuable upon its Series B conversion, [Pg. 113] for a total diluted share count of 526,952,328 shares.

[2] The company was originally called Fair Deal Concepts Ltd. Dozy’s full name is Mmobuosi Odogwu Banye. Note that Darren Mercer is the Group CEO of Tingo, while Dozy is CEO of its key holding company entity.

[3] For reference, we checked Mmobuosi Odogwu Banye, Mmobuosi Odogwu and even attempted his nickname, Dozy Odogwu.

[4] Despite the very public resignation, Tingo still lists Charlier as Co-Chairman on its website as of this writing. 

[5] Tingo claims within the exact same filing that its Tingo Foods division “commenced food processing operations in August 2022” and that it “commenced food processing operations in September 2022”. [Pgs. 8, 22] Obviously both of these cannot be true. (We suspect neither of them are.)

[6] To replicate this, right click on the ArtStation webpage, navigate to “inspect”. From there readers can “Command+F” to find the origin of the picture, listed as October 28, 2018

[7] Note that Evtec Energy lists David Roberts as principal, who signed the agreement with Tingo alongside Dozy. We found no evidence of Robert’s experience building solar energy facilities, but plenty of experience in reverse mergers of companies in ‘hot’ sectors like electric vehicles and cannabis [1,2] along with other projects like building a nuclear reactor, which it aims to complete “by early 2030s”.

[8] Another anomaly in the Tingo Foods Plc statements is the disclosure that the company has just 3 customers: Customer A, Customer B, and Customer C which together constitute 100% of revenues. None of these customers are disclosed. It is unclear how a company has just 3 customers if it is supposedly providing “seed to sale” services for millions of farmers.

[9] The Company’s DEF 14A filed with the SEC on May 1, 2023 makes mention of inventory, but provides no clear explanation as to how the accounting line items disappeared from the financial statements entirely: “During March 2023, Tingo Foods…moved to a just-in-time inventory management system, in parallel to agreeing to a direct-to-customer shipping arrangement with its produce and processing suppliers, in connection with which it aims to avoid holding physical inventory.” [Pg. F-96]

[10] Note that in Tingo’s 10-K filed with the SEC it claimed that “in Q4 2021 Tingo Mobile sold an additional 2.9 million handsets to a non-agricultural cooperative in Nigeria”. [Pg. 8] Again, each cooperative had fewer than 100 farmers.

[11] Note also that the Facebook page for the small co-op says it has only 100 hectares of farmland. Were Tingo’s claims of 4-5 million farmers for the co-op true, it suggests that each farmer would only have 2.1-2.6 sq ft of land to grow crops each—perhaps enough for a handful of carrots and potatoes, but unlikely to drive the massive revenue and operating income metrics claimed by the company. (Unless they’re really, really delicious carrots.)

[12] MVNO licenses are a new development that come with a strict set of requirements around technical capabilities and financial condition. As of June, 2023, the licenses are just beginning to be approved. Thus it is not possible that Tingo Mobile had this license at any time in the past, and it does not show up as a current licensee.

[13] The NCC also reports numbering by carrier, a list Tingo also doesn’t show up on. Lastly, the NCC website breaks down the top mobile carriers, which include all the major local carriers like Airtel, 9mobile, Globacom, MTN and Visafone. Tingo again appears nowhere on any of the lists.

[14] Tingo claims to be partnering with the Ashanti Kingdom Investment Trust (“AKIT”) of the Ashanti Kingdom for the Ghana operation expansion. AKIT is run by “His Royal Highness Oheneba Yaw Otchere” who previously  advised and partnered on a failed crypto project called Kamari / Kampay together with Tingo President Chris Cleverly. This would suggest that Otchere may either be a useful pawn of Cleverly and in this case Tingo, or that he’s willingly ‘in on it’. The shitcoin associated with the Kampay project initially spiked to around $7 then plummeted to $0.0038. Nothing ever came of the project or KamPay’s promises to revitalize Africa, that we can find.

[15] We found an older TingoPay app in the GooglePlay store with only around 10,000+ downloads.

[16] The data from the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics shows that 528 billion (Nigerian Naira) worth of agricultural products were exported in 2022. The exchange rate of the Naira to USD was 0.002169 USD to 1 Naira on May 30, 2023, the time of the Tingo announcement.

[17] One possibility we examined was whether the discrepancy had to do with Tingo’s acquisition of Tingo Foods in February 2023, but Tingo disclosed a minimal $14.7 million change to net working capital, and only a $56.8 million total impact to cash. [Pg. 7]