America’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended trading activity for Tingo Group on the stock exchange. Tingo is a Nigeria-focused agriculture company that claims to provide a marketplace and payment services for farmers in the country. The self-described “agri-fintech” company is listed on the NASDAQ, which requires it to comply with US regulations and corporate governance standards.
However, Tingo has been the subject of controversy following a June 2023 report by Hindenburg Research alleging its business in Nigeria is a fraud. Hindenburg Research is an American short-seller that bets against companies’ stock and then publishes damaging reports on them. The scathing report alleged that Tingo is an “exceptionally obvious scam” and further disputed several claims by its founder Dozy Mmobuosi, about developing “the first mobile payment app in Nigeria.” Tingo’s share price crashed by half following the damning report.
“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 SEC wrote in its suspension notice published Tuesday. According to the notice, the suspension is linked to “questions and concerns regarding publicly available information about Tingo Group, including press releases and periodic filings.” The suspension of trading will last from November 14 to November 28, 2023.
Tingo did not immediately respond to TechCabal’s request for comments.
According to US federal securities laws, the SEC can suspend trading in any stock “for up to ten trading days in the public interest and for the protection of investors.”
Earlier today, Tingo released its financial reports for the third quarter of 2023, claiming $586.2 million in net revenues and gross profits of $137.9 million. It did not comment on the SEC’s announcement.
However, in September, three months after the allegations by Hindenburg Group, Tingo declared itself innocent of all allegations after claiming it had hired outside counsel. It said the allegations that its financial statements were misstated by hundreds of millions were due to “typographical errors” while denying other allegations.