The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intervened, suspending the trading of Tingo Group shares on the NASDAQ stock exchange. This move comes in the wake of a June scandal where the Nigeria-focused agriculture company faced allegations of fraudulent business practices.
Listed on the NASDAQ as a self-described “agri-fintech” company, Tingo Group claims to offer a marketplace and payment services for farmers in Nigeria. However, controversy arose following a June 2023 report by Hindenburg Research, an American short-seller, which accused Tingo of being an “exceptionally obvious scam.” The report refuted claims by Tingo’s founder, Dozy Mmobuosi, including the development of “the first mobile payment app in Nigeria,” causing a 50% drop in Tingo’s share price.
The SEC justified the trading suspension, stating, “The Commission is of the opinion that the public interest and the protection of investors require a suspension of trading in the securities of [Tingo].” The suspension, effective from November 14 to November 28, 2023, is linked to “questions and concerns regarding publicly available information about Tingo Group, including press releases and periodic filings.”
Tingo Group has not responded to TechCabal’s request for comments at the time of this report.
According to US federal securities laws, the SEC has the authority to suspend trading in any stock “for up to ten trading days in the public interest and for the protection of investors.”
Despite the SEC’s action, Tingo released its third-quarter 2023 financial reports today, claiming $586.2 million in net revenues and gross profits of $137.9 million. The company did not address the SEC’s announcement in its financial report.
In September, three months after the allegations by Hindenburg Group, Tingo declared its innocence, attributing allegations of financial misstatements to “typographical errors” and denying other accusations after reportedly hiring outside counsel.