Saturday, May 16, 2015

We Get Many Complaints Against Obasanjo Foundation – UK Commission

The United Kingdom Charity Commission says it has received many complaints about the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation in London concerning allegations of financial misconduct and conflicts of interest.

The UKCC’s spokesperson, Sarah Hitchings, told our correspondent in an email that the commission had also started a broad investigation into the matters because the foundation had violated its regulatory standards.

She said, “We have received complaints about this charity and issues including alleged conflicts of interest and alleged financial misconduct.

“We currently have an open case in relation to this charity and have been in contact with the trustees.

“We have recently become aware of further information about potential wrong-doing at the charity which is of regulatory concern to the commission and we are currently considering this new information. We cannot comment further while our case is live.”

Meanwhile, the commission refused to comment on any actions taken against the recently sacked London-based Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Anne Welsh, on allegations of money laundering.

“We cannot give information about a charge on the chief executive officer – this would be a question for the Police,” Hitchings added.

The Chief of Staff to former President Obasanjo, Mr. Victor Durodola, had toldSaturday PUNCHthat Welsh was relieved of her duties due to allegations of money laundering activities.

“It is true and it is sad,” he said, while commenting on the sacking of the former chief executive.

SaharaReportershad earlier obtained a video footage, which showed that Welsh was allegedly involved in plotting a $4.9m (N980m) scheme to exploit the Ebola Virus Disease tragedy in West Africa through helping a group of “Lebanese businessmen,” who wished to donate money to the Obasanjo Foundation for some works in Sierra Leone.

The footage revealed that the group demanded that it would make a donation of $2m (N400m) to the foundation if it helped it launder the balance of $2.9m, which Welsh agreed to.

“I had to go through training, through president Obasanjo, political training for one year to become discreet,” she said in the video,” adding that, “Sometimes, we get dollars from people who give money to our foundation and they say they don’t want it to be known that they donated the money, but they want to have a letter on our letterhead and a letter from Obasanjo just to say ‘Thank you’ for your kind donations to the foundation for the work to support Ebola.’ That’s it. That is what we normally do.”

Welsh had also demanded from the group an interest of 30 per cent on the $2.9m.

“At least 30 per cent; think about the hard work I’m going to put into this, you will be so grateful to me,” she said.

The video evidence had also showed that the group agreed to give her the 30 per cent, which was $90,000 (N180m), and detailed how the money would be transferred via a Nigerian bank.


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