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TINGO: Nigeria must Protect its Own

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The Lagos financial community is on fire right now at the audacity and ease with which Financial Research company allegedly operating behind a laundry, on Coopers Street, Yonkers, New York managed to use lies an innuendo to smash, after Jumia and Opera, the price of another African tech giant, Tingo Group (TIO:Nasdaq) and run off into the darkness with over $100mn and the US Regulators were impotent and were not capable of stopping them doing it or apparently from even striking again.

That research firm publishes the Hindenburg Report, run by money tycoon Nathaniel Anderson aka the Hindenburg Hustler specialises in a technique known as “short and distort” in which he bets the price of a booming stock will collapse and then pretends to be an independent arbiter but instead pays keyboard warriors to attack chatrooms to discredit companies with fabricated evidence, fake pictures, Ai distortions and out right lies until their price collapses. He and his billionaire buddies who back him then pocket the money. A fool and his money is soon parted, is there motto.

They are so brazen that they can do this at least ten times a year, pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars. This year to make a statement and prove their power over Wall Street, they attacked Carl Icahn, the banker that the original Oliver Stone movie “Wall Street”, played by Michael Douglas, was based on. They named and shamed him in a gross public display to show that Nathan was the new King of New York.

Carl Icahn, the old icon of the GREED IS GOOD 1980s, was left spluttering :

“Hindenburg Research, founded by Nathan Anderson, would be more aptly named Blitzkrieg Research given its tactics of wantonly destroying property and harming innocent civilians. Mr. Anderson’s modus operandi is to launch disinformation campaigns to distort companies’ images, damage their reputations and bleed the hard-earned savings of individual investors,”

All fun and games for the comfortable US bankers but here in Africa the consequences are deadly serious. Tingo provides a mobile phone and the means by which 11 million farmers buy their seeds and fertiliser and sell their crops, fruit and vegetables with VISA and AFAN (government co-operative organisation). Many Tingo farmers are in states that have been badly harmed by climate change. Many rely and their families and their communities rely on Tingo. When the Hindenburg Hustler sneezes, Africa catches Covid.

Tingo is one of the few commercial enterprises that can operate in our troubled North East and have done through out the conflict providing a source of income and communication to many who are isolated or displaced. When there is no market place, their children go without healthcare and education, they can’t just slip out of their Manhattan office for a cup of Joe and a a double burger at the Inwood Grill.

The Nathans of New York do not care how Africa has relied on our African technology entrepreneurs from Mo Ibrahim to Strive Masiyiwa to pull our continent out of endemic poverty. Mobile money has transformed financial inclusion in Africa and occurred a decade before it appeared in the States. Africa can be a leader. The digital transformation of Africa is rapidly closing the gender gap and reducing poverty for all.

In December 2022, the United States launched the Digital Transformation with Africa Initiative (DTA). The US government pledged about $800mn which is much less than the value that the Hindenburg Hustler destroyed in African technology companies in a matter of days. If the US is serious in Africa about digital transformation it should use its enforcement bodies to act swiftly and close down these “short and distort” bucket shops that rely on the unconscious racial bias of many of its financial institutions to attack with impunity foreign companies who seek a listing on markets such as NYSE and Nasdaq that are promoted as being global.

The US capital markets should not portray themselves as concerned about ESG matters or United Nations special development goals, if they can not control the criminal activities of the Hindenburg Hustler operating a 20 minute drive away from the UN headquarters in New York. In the Ai age, anyone can fabricate information and then as Nathan Anderson does hide behind the free speech First Amendment and any robust institutional governance should ensure that people like him are regulated.

And they should do this not just because of the outsized effects his greed is good mentality has on ordinary Africans but also to protect those hard working Americans who invest pensions and savings to make it through their old age in the market. Hindenburg does what it does for secretive billionaire buddies. Don’t think for a second he gives a damn about smashing ordinary Americans to the kerb.

But if the regulators can not control Hindenburg, (and Gary Gensler boss of US Securities and Exchange Commission is promising to deal with the short and distorters soon) then what can Tingo and other African tech companies who wish to go to US for capital market support, do to protect themselves.

Tingo did well by calling for an independent enquiry within 48 hours of the abusive attack by Nathan Anderson. They went to one of the world’s biggest law firms White & Case. Founded in 1901 and ranked in the top law firms globally by revenue. It is their job to look at the allegations and make recommendations to the board of Tingo. Hopefully, Nathan Anderson will be forced by them to reveal who his billionaire buddies are and thereby the expose the criminal conspiracy that surrounds him.

Those companies that have escaped the clutches of the Hindenburg Hustler, include Bloom Energy, the green energy provider. Hindenburg alleged that there were undisclosed servicing liabilities that the market had overlooked and predicted that Bloom Energy was heading towards bankruptcy. Within two years of the report the company had more than doubled their share price.

In March 2021, Hindenburg Research accused Ormat Technologies, Inc. of engaging in widespread and systematic acts of international corruption. Around this time their share price moved wildly. In a short time, having thrown off these allegations, the renewable energy provider carried on as normal with its share price being pretty stable ever since.

In December 2021, Hindenburg Hustler published a report alleging that Technoglass Inc had Suspicious sales and acquisitions involving undisclosed related-party customers. They also alleged ownership of these related-party customers by family members of Technoglass’ CEO and COO. There were also accusations of significant connections to a cocaine cartel, resulting in criminal allegations. In the time since these reckless or fraudulent accusations by Hindenburg, the share price of Technoglass has tripled.

That such criminal activity against so many foreign participants from Africa, India, China and Europe can exist and thrive at the centre of the world’s largest economy and then hide behind that economy’s constitution is astounding. A potential recourse would be by our government or the African Union to the World Bank or IMF’s Financial Sector Assessment Program which can sanction America for allowing this to even occur.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, is often quoted, in instances where guys like Nathan Anderson and his billionaire buddies but Nigeria can no longer expect the good guys in the USA to do anything. We have to stand on our own two feet and protect our own. Within 25 years,
we will have population bigger than the USA.

It time for Nigeria to draw the line and say no longer will you bully our companies or belittle our leaders or impoverish our people.

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Court Denies Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan Bail

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Friday, refused to grant bail to an executive of Binance Holdings Limited, Tigran Gambaryan.

Justice Nwite held that Gambaryan is likely to jump bail if granted to him.

The company and its executive were arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering before Emeka Nwite, judge of a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Moving an application, Counsel to the Defendant, Mark Mordi, argued that the court had the power to grant bail to the defendant and impose conditions to ensure his presence in court.

The prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, however opposed the bail application, stating that the defendant is a flight risk.

He stated that the defendant attempted to obtain a new passport, which he claimed was stolen, and this is a suspicious act given the proximity to his colleague’s escape from custody.

He added that the court cannot risk granting Gambaryan bail, especially as he is not attached to any community in Nigeria.

“The fact that the passport of the defendant is with the complainant does not guarantee that he will remain in Nigeria because the defendant is not only an American citizen but also an Armenian citizen by birth.

He urged the court to refuse the application and instead remand him in EFCC custody to ensure his safety and prevent potential flight risk.

Delivering ruling, the judge said several factors including the nature of offence and its severity must be considered when trying to decide whether or not bail should be granted to the defendant applicant.

Justice Nwite agreed with the depositions made by prosecution and was of the view that the applicant will jump bail if bail is granted to him.

He subsequently ordered that the trial be given an accelerated hearing.

After the ruling, the EFCC called its first witness, a staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Governor Adeleke Felicitates with Dele Momodu at 64

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The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has felicitated with the celebrated journalist, and Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Akinrogun Dele Momodu on the occasion of his 64th birthday, describing him as “a pride of the media industry.”

Governor Adeleke noted Akinrogun Momodu’s heartwarming contributions to a just and equitable society, saying he has touched the minds and hearts of countless people with insightful words, logistic support and unwavering dedication to truth and justice.

The Governor appreciates the Ovation Magazine Publisher’s sustained commitment to informing and enlightening the public as a weapon of nation building, acknowledging him as an inspirational figure, who has empowered readers to think critically, and engage meaningfully.

“I congratulate my dear friend, Akinrogun Dele Momodu, on the auspicious occasion of his birthday. The Aare Tayese of Iwoland is a unique personality, who has touched lives positively and brought smiles to countless faces,” the Governor was quoted in a congratulatory message, signed by his spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed.

“On this auspicious occasion, I honour both your wonderful life and exceptional contributions to the media sector and the larger society. I note, with admiration, Akinrogun Momodu’s deep sense of commitment to a better Nigeria, which is manifest in columns and public discourse.

“On behalf of my family, I convey best wishes to Akinrogun Momodu on his birthday and it is my prayer that God grant him many celebrations in good health and happiness while also bestowing him the grace to give more to humanity.”

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Why We’re Charging Helicopter Landing Fee – Aviation Ministry

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The Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development on Monday said the introduction of helicopter landing levies was in line with global best practices and cost recovery measures.

This is contained in a statement by Odutayo Oluseyi, Head, Press and Public Affairs of the ministry in Lagos.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the ministry recognises the importance of helicopter operations in Nigeria’s aviation industry and is committed to implementing international best practices in helicopter operations.

He said that helicopter landing levies were commonplace in countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, India and various other regions worldwide.

He maintained that Tallahassee International Airport in Florida began implementing helicopter landing levies under Vector Airport Systems, since 1 October 2022.

Mr Oluseyi said helicopter landing levies were common across airfields in the United Kingdom, ranging from major commercial ones, to small general aviation fields.

He added that, typically, helicopter levies matched or exceeded those for fixed-wing aircraft, and varied based on factors like location and services provided.

“The federal government has granted NAEBI Dynamic Concepts Ltd exclusive rights to collect helicopter landing levies in line with the MoU between NAEBI Concept and NAMA (focal Agency), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“It is instructive to note that NAMA, under the Act as amended in 2022, is empowered to collect aeronautical revenues in both the upper and lower airspace to support her self-sustainability.

“However, over the years, NAMA has predominantly relied on the upper airspace for her revenue generation.

“Government in her wisdom, having discovered a lacuna on the lower airspace where helicopter operations is dominant, directed NAMA to live up to its responsibilities, to enable them generate enough resources, to sustain their aeronautical architecture, enhance security and surveillance and improve the overall quality of helicopter operations in Nigeria,” he said.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the government is confident that the move will improve capacity, efficiency, safety, security and attract more investments in the aviation industry.

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