The Tingo Group Scam

The Tingo Group Scam
Case Code: BECG188
Case Length: 17 Pages
Period: 2019-2024
Pub Date: 2024
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: Tingo Group
Industry: Financial Services
Countries: Nigeria
Themes: Business Ethics, Entrepreneurship
The Tingo Group Scam
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The Launch of Tingo

In 2011, the Nigerian government started a program called the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme to boost agricultural production by providing subsidies on agricultural inputs to farmers and also offering financial support. The lower cost of inputs encouraged the farmers to use more inputs and, in the process, obtain increased output. Mmobuosi then signed a MoU with the federal government and initiated a data capture project that captured the data of farmers and others working across the entire agricultural sector in 36 states and the Abuja Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria...

Tingo’s Listing in the USA

Mmobuosi wanted to take Tingo international by listing on a major stock exchange. He believed that such a listing would give it global recognition and help the company spread its activities further. He believed such a listing would ensure future growth as more capital would be available.

In November 2020, Mmobuosi applied for a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The application was rejected. In July 2021, he sold Tingo Mobile to an OTC-listed company, iWeb Inc. for US$ 3.7 billion through an all-stock merger. iWeb paid for the merger through stock. After the acquisition, iWeb changed its name to Tingo Inc. Mmobuosi became the CEO of this new company. Later on, the name Tingo Inc. was changed to Agri Fintech Holdings..

Element of concern?

From the time Tingo was listed on the NASDAQ in 2022, Mmobuosi had reportedly spent US$ 226 million worth of shares on purchasing luxury cars and traveling in private jets. The increasing share price made Mmobuosi a billionaire. In February 2023, he announced his intention to buy the English Football team Sheffield United for 90 million pounds. This announcement made many journalists sit up and take notice, and they tried to get to know more about Mmobuosi. On February 06, 2023, investigative journalist Joey D’Urso from sports magazine The Athletic published an article saying that Mmobuosi was the director of an airline company named..

Hindenburg Report

On June 06, 2023, Hindenburg, the USA-based short seller, came out with a Tingo report titled ‘Tingo Group: Fake Farmers, Phones, and Financials – The Nigerian Empire That Isn’t’. Bringing to light several loopholes in Tingo and in how it operated, Hindenburg suggested that “we are short Tingo Group INC because we believe the company is an exceptionally obvious scam with completely fabricated financials.”..

Tingo’s Stance

After Hindenburg’s report, the company’s share price fell 48% in a day. Tingo, however, said it would investigate the matter further through an outside investigator, a law firm, White & Case LLP. It released a report three months later of an investigation carried out by an independent law firm, whose name was not mentioned..

The SEC Investigation

On December 19, 2023, the SEC issued a notice to stop trading in the Tingo stock. The SEC obtained a temporary asset freeze, restraining order, and emergency relief against Mmobuosi and three entities – Tingo Group Inc., Agri-Fintech Holdings, and Tingo International Holdings Inc. Mmobuosi was charged with massive fraud by the SEC. The SEC reported, “For years, Mmobuosi and the companies he controlled..

Role of the Auditor

The role of Deloitte was questioned, as it had signed the reports and had, in fact, given Tingo, an unknown company, the seal of authentication in the U.S. Many investors came forward to invest in Tingo as they trusted the auditor. According to Hindenburg founder Nathan Anderson, “How many people are going to believe in a Nigerian fintech group that claims to offer mobile services to nine million rural farmers (when) no one can find where any of it was? How do you go from that to NASDAQ and over a billion market valuation? Deloitte and NASDAQ are what lent it credibility..


After completing its investigation, the SEC suspended trading in the Tingo Group on November 13, 2023. The next day, Tingo reported its third quarter earnings of US$ 586.2 million and profits of US$ 20.7 million. In November 2023, NASDAQ initiated its own trading halt following the SEC’s suspension of trade..


Exhibit I: Tingo Profit and Loss Account
Exhibit II: Tingo Cash Flow Statement

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