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Nigeria’s Mr. Right: The Atiku You Should Know

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The recent approval of N 33,000 by the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as minimum wage for his staff became a cause of debate all over the country. Not just because it is higher than what the Federal Government may approve for its work force but that it is coming from a man who over the years, has been painted as corrupt, maligned and defamed, but has not stopped growing in importance. To him, saving Nigeria from her present predicament is a task that must be done with enthusiasm.

One question that should possibly be posed to the many accusers is “where, when and what did Atiku Abubakar steal?” At least he has never been tried in any court of law, except the court of public opinion. Born on November 25, 1946, Atiku worked in the Customs Service for 20 years and retired as a Deputy Director, the then second highest position in the service. After leaving the Customs Service where he served meritoriously in 1989, he ventured into private business and politics and has done relatively well since then.

It is an irrefutable fact that Atiku has paid his dues politically; having started in the 1980s. He was very active in the governorship campaign of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. That was just the beginning. The influence of General Shehu Yar’Adua also had a helpful impact on his political career. He became a prominent force and Vice Chairman of the People’s Front of Nigeria. His colleagues at the PFN then included Umar Yar’Adua, who later became President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Sabo Bakin Zuwo among others.

Not known to many, Atiku Abubakar was at the Constituent Assembly in 1989, the Assembly was saddled with the responsibility of deciding on a new constitution for Nigeria. He later tried becoming Governor in the old Gongola State (now Adamawa and Yobe) in 1991.

The People’s Front would later fuse into the Social Democratic Party, which was in full glory that time. With the disqualification of his mentor, General Shehu Yar’Adua in the Presidential election, the former Military man threw his weight behind Alhaji Atiku Abubakar when he contested in the primary election that produced Chief M.K.O Abiola as the candidate of the SDP, ahead of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election. Young as he was then, Atiku came third in the primaries behind MKO Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe.

In 1999, Atiku became Nigeria’s second democratically elected Vice President, having been nominated as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate. Meanwhile, after his eight years as Nigeria’s Vice President and till date, he has not had any case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Atiku Abubakar contested to be President in 2007, on the Action Congress of Nigeria platform; incidentally those describing him as a corrupt politician today were the ones calling him a man of distinction then.

When people were not buying into the corruption story, they came up with the United States story. His campaign organization has however posited that he will visit the United States by the end of November.

Just like it is happening now, there was so much opposition to his presidential ambition in 2007. Atiku would however display a lot of maturity; it took a Supreme Court judgment to allow him contest the election after the Independent National Electoral Commission had initially disqualified him. He eventually came third at the polls.

His Adama Beverages and American University of Nigeria are major investments in Yola, Adamawa State. Atiku knows the value of education; his father was arrested and fined for not sending him to school. Getting Western Education eventually proved to be something of absolute value. It was only after his diploma in 1969 that he was employed as an officer in the Nigerian Customs Service.

His business acumen did not suddenly grow into an uncommon level; he started real estate in 1974 when he built his first house with a loan and put it up for rent. He used the proceeds from the rent to acquire another plot which he built on and rented out. That was the beginning of the magnificent business empire.

By 1981, he had gathered enough funds to acquire land near Yola to plant maize and cotton. His farming venture however folded up in 1986. That proved to be part of the learning curve that toughened him as a businessman. He later went into buying and selling truckloads of rice, flour and sugar. The business structure has since grown in leaps and bounds.

In terms of reliability, a man who has been Vice President and has managed his estate with great success would no doubt do well to manage the country well. With his fame and political clout resisting gravity as the elections draw near, Atiku seems to have become the right piece needed to complete Nigeria’s jigsaw puzzle.

N4Atiku

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Exposing Dozie Mmobuosi’s House of Fraud, A Multimillion Business Empire That Never Existed

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Tingo Group 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.

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 “Dozy” Mmobuosi, who currently serves as the CEO of Tingo Group Holdings, the group’s key holding company entity. He has gained international attention, gracing the cover of GQ Africa in December 2022.
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. The deal stalled over questions about whether Dozy’s financial resources were genuine.

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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.
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”

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Diocese Kicks Against Building Of Mosque Inside Hospital In Osun

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The Methodist Church Nigeria, Ilesa Diocese is protesting the erection of a mosque within the premises of the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa.

 

The Diocese led by the Bishop and other high ranking priests in the Diocese stormed the hospital premises to register their displeasure with the hospital management.

 

Stressing the fact that the hospital was built by the church, the Diocese claimed the erection of the mosque without authorization could fuel discord and affect the peaceful tenets of christianity.

 

The Diocese also claimed to have reported the matter to the Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke and awaits his response before they know the next step to take.

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FG Charges Fleeing Adebutu, Zenith Bank MD, Others With Vote-buying, Money Laundering

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The Federal Government has charged the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State during the 2023 election, Oladipupo Adebutu, with money laundering and vote-buying.

The government also dragged  Zenith Bank, its Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, and the head of card services at the bank, Celestina Appeal, before the Federal High Court in Abeokuta for allegedly aiding Adebutu to commit the alleged offence.

The government, in the charge sheet marked AB/10c/2023, accused Adebutu of engaging in vote-buying during the  March 18 governorship election in the state.

Adebutu, who was the PDP governorship candidate, contested against incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress.

The office of the  Attorney General of the Federation, which filed the charges, also listed  nine other PDP members as Adebutu’s co-defendants.

They are Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi and Sanni Adejoke.

Others are Dare Ogunleye, Dare Adeoye, Dayo Fashina, Wasiu Enololobo, and Malik Akawo.

 

In the charge sheet, the FG said Adebutu was at large.

Adebutu, alleging a threat to his life, had shortly after the election reportedly travelled out of the country.

The governorship candidate and Adegoke were charged with three counts of criminal conspiracy, bribery and undue influence, while the eight others were charged with vote-buying and conspiracy.

The prosecution listed eight witnesses, who include a police officer, three officials of the NDLEA and two Points of Sale operators, against Adebutu and others.

One of the charges read: “That you Oladipupo Adebuti (now at large), adult male of Kessington House, Iperu, Ogun State between February and March, 2023 at Ogun State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did provide 200,000 prepaid verve cards loaded with N10,000, which had inscribed on them ‘Dame Caroline Oladuni Adebutu Memorial Endorsement Scheme for less privileged’  for the purpose of corruptly influencing votes to vote for PDP candidates (including yourself) during the governorship and state Assembly elections in Ogun State and you thereby committed an offence.”

In another suit filed before the Federal High Court in Abeokuta, the prosecution accused  Zenith Bank, its Managing Director, Onyeagwu, and the head of card services at the bank, Appeal, of aiding Adebutu to commit the alleged crime.

The government alleged: “That you (Mr Onyeagwu and Ms Appeal) between February 2023 to March 2023 in Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did fail to report dust transactions which appeared to have no economic justification or lawful objective, in the account of Oladipupo  Adebutu domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc. You thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 7(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022 and punishable under Section 7 (10) of the same Act.”

 

Additional report; Punch Newspaper

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