U.S. sues Tingo Group Nigerian CEO Dozy Mmobuosi over fake GTBank, UBA statements, other ‘staggering’ scams

The American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed civil fraud charges against Dozy Mmobuosi, CEO of Tingo Group, for falsifying financial statements and other documents for three Tingo Group subsidiaries, including Tingo Mobile and Tingo Foods Plc. 

Court documents seen by Peoples Gazette showed how SEC prosecutors listed a laundry of corruption allegations against Mr Mmobuosi and three firms linked to him.

“For years, Mmobuosi and the companies he controlled, TIH, Agri-Fintech, and Tingo Group have intentionally and materially overstated their reported revenues, expenses, profits and assets in their SEC filings, public statements, and the books and records they have provided to their auditors,” a civil complaint entered on Monday before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said. “The scope of the fraud is staggering.”

Authorities said Mr Mmobuosi used firms linked to him to file falsified financial transactions and doctored bank records to show widely inflated balance statements from Nigerian banks.

In one instance in 2020, he sent a GTBank statement that showed a balance of N5.7 billion, even though the actual balance was merely N5,544.

In 2022, he filed a balance sheet purportedly from the United Bank of Africa that carried a balance of over N53 billion. However, upon verification, the account had only N1.6 million in it.

“Mmobuosi and the entities he controls have fraudulently obtained hundreds of millions in money or property through these schemes,” SEC said in its statement.

The Gazette had reported in June how Mr Mmobuosi, a Nigerian businessman and tech entrepreneur, was indicted over allegations of passport racketeering by the Malawian government.

U.S. tech-listing exchange NASDAQ has suspended trading for Tingo Group, also known as Agri-Fintech, pending the conclusion of the charges. The whereabouts of Mr Mmobuosi, who was said to be based in London, were unclear as of Monday evening, with The Gazette being unable to reach him for comments.

The government said he “fraudulently obtained hundreds of millions in money or property through these schemes, and that Mmobuosi has siphoned off funds for his personal benefit, including purchases of luxury cars and travel on private jets, as well as an unsuccessful attempt to acquire an English Football Club Premier League team, among other things.”

The SEC reported that Tingo Group had cash and cash equivalents of $461.7 million for fiscal year 2022, but its bank accounts held less than $50 in total.