Dar Port Keeps Close Eye On Indian Firm Over Fraud Claims

Tanzania is keeping a careful eye on claims of corporate fraud against Indian company Adan Group and has assured that if proven, the country’s laws will be followed.

TPA’s guarantee comes at a time when an Indian billionaire related to Adan Group, Gautam Adani, is facing allegations of fraud and market manipulation by US-based short sellers at Hindenburg Research.

“These are only allegations at this point. We’ve seen them too, just like you… We cannot make a decision until the claims are proven because they have not yet been confirmed,” the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) director general Mr Plasduce Mbossa, said.

If the accusations are confirmed, he said, TPA will consider what the country’s laws state before making any further actions. He insisted: “ But for now, these are still just claims.”

Adani Group’s subsidiary, the Indian conglomerate Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ), has been contracted to operate berths eight through 11 of the Dar es Salaam Port on behalf of TPA.

Following the expiry of a contract between TPA and Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (Ticts), the Indian corporation – which also handles India’s major seaports – took over the services of running the berths at the Dar es Salaam Port earlier this month.

Billionaire Gautam Adani – who last year briefly catapulted into becoming the world’s second richest person – was accused of fraud and market manipulation, leading to the companies that he controls shedding tens of billions in value.

The fortune of Adani, who until recently had a net worth larger than that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, declined by more than $22 billion on Friday, according to Forbes.

Mr Adani’s seven publicly traded companies that are involved in everything including energy and infrastructure, lost more than $50 billion in market value last week, Bloomberg News reported.

Hindenburg said last week in the research published after a two-year probe that Mr Adani had pulled what it termed as “the largest con in corporate history”.

But in a rejoinder, Adani Group called Hindenburg’s charges “baseless and discredited” and went on to suggest that the report was malicious in intent and timed to sabotage a secondary share sale of one of its companies.

Reports from international media stated last week that Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises plunged nearly 20 percent on Friday’s trade in Mumbai, briefly triggering an automatic trading halt, before recovering slightly to close 18.52 percent lower.

Five other group companies hit their own stock exchange circuit breakers, with shares in Adani Total Gas, Adani Green Energy and Adani Transmission falling 20 percent apiece.

“Obviously this is panic-selling,” JM Financials equity research chief Ashish Chaturmohta told AFP, adding that traders were creating fresh short-sell positions to protect earlier bullish bets on Adani stocks.

But according to Mr Mbossa, TPA was also negotiating with various companies in the world – including with APSEZ – in an effort to get the best one to operate the berths.

Last August, the government said a number of investors had shown interest in offering the services at the port of Dar es Salaam but did not disclose the names of the investors.

Adani’s net worth has grown rapidly, from $9 billion in 2020 to $127 billion in December, during a broader boom in Indian capital markets.

Forbes on Friday said he was worth just under $97 billion.