On September 5, 2012, Angela Nworgu, then head of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML, of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), disclosed that NGOs are now used as conduits for money laundering and the support of criminal operations. Several years later, the revelation she made in her opening remarks at the annual seminar for Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFIs) with the theme “Strategic partnership Among DNFIs for Effective Implementation of AML/CFT Regime in Nigeria” held at the EFCC Academy, Karu, Abuja, is still relevant.
According to Nworgu, research by the Financial Action Task Force indicates that money launderers “who use NGOs to carry out layering of stolen wealth through several countries to disguise the actual origin of the money do not mind losing 40% of the total amount in the process because it is money gotten from illegitimate means”. This admission of fact raises questions about Marie Stopes Nigeria’s apparent receipt of sizable funds from organizations without affiliation to its services or business operations.
Marie Stopes was founded by Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, a proponent of birth control who launched the first contraceptive instruction clinic in the UK in 1921. She was born on October 15, 1880, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and died on October 2, 1958, close to Dorking, Surrey, England. MSI, which has its presence in 37 countries, opened its first clinics in Nigeria in 2009 for the sole purpose of “providing high-quality contraceptive services” for Nigerians. Its head office is located at 59, Anthony Enahoro Street, Utako, Abuja. It has branches in Edo State and Lagos.
For a company that flaunts “providing high-quality contraceptive services” as its core mission, its relationship with companies that have no direct affiliations or are in the same line of operation becomes a source of worry to SecretReporters.
THE INFLUX OF CASH
Documents obtained by SecretReporters, show how Marie Stopes Nigeria received millions of Naira from different companies, including construction companies. The irregularities of payments into different accounts belonging to the ‘supposed NGO’ raise eyebrows.
Below is a chronicle of some of this influx:
Between 29/03/2019 and 25/04/2019, Rigserve Ventures, which was incorporated in Lagos, Nigeria, with Registration Number 2605768, paid N310,000,000 into Marie Stopes’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB) account number – 0739250018. The company was registered on 09 May 2018, and its status is unknown.
Within the space of one month, (29/08/2018 to 26/09/2018), EBOLEEY C INVESTMENT LTD, which was incorporated in Nigeria with Registration Number 461026, paid N341,975,000.00 into Marie Stopes’s FCMB account number – 0739250018. The company was registered on 28 August 2002, and its current status is unknown.
Titilayo Olufunmilayo Eboh, a major stakeholder of Marie Stopes, uses three of her companies to pump millions into several accounts of MCI. On 05/02/2018, CHAYOMI MULTI SER-N, a company owned by Titilayo Olufunmilayo Eboh, paid N20,000,000.00 and another 30,000,000.00 into Marie Stopes FCMB Account 0739250018. The company was incorporated in ABUJA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 1323640. It was registered on 21 Mar 2016, and its status is unknown.
Barely five months after it was founded, CHAYOMI PETROLUIM LTD, on 27/07/2018, in tranches, paid N433,200,000 into Marie Stopes’s FCMB account 0739250018. The company was incorporated in ABUJA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 1474052. It was registered on 26 Feb 2018, and its status is unknown. The company is owned by Titilayo Olufunmilayo Eboh. Also, between 23/05/2019 and 25/06/2019, the company paid N252,000,000 into Marie Stopes’s FCMB account 0739250018.
In the same vein, CHAYOMI ALUMINIUM LTD, owned by Titilayo Olufunmilayo Eboh between 09/01/2018 and 05/07/2018, paid N1,492,910,000 into Marie Stopes FCMB account 0739250018. The company was incorporated in ABUJA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 1372008. It was registered on 03 Nov 2016, and its current status is unknown.
SecretReporters will later investigate the newly incorporated Chayomi group; its findings are mind-blowing. Take note of this, as we publish our report later.
In different transactions, WIDE-RANGE INTEGRATED SERVICES LTD on 11/07/2017 paid 20,000,000.00, 15,000,000.00, 20,000,000.00, 55,000,000.00 into Marie Stopes Nigeria FCMB accounts – 739250104, 739250070, 739250087. The company, owned by Ikobayo Olatunde Isiaka and Ikobayo Oluwafifunwa O, was incorporated in LAGOS, Nigeria, with Registration Number 864157. It was registered on 14 Jan 2010, and its current status is unknown.
On 17/05/2018, DIAMOND GLOBAL EXCHANGE AND INVESTMENT LTD had in two transactions, paid N94,000,000.00 into Marie Stopes FCMB account 0739250018. The company, owned by Shahru Haruna Zahraddeen, was incorporated in ABUJA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 1440235. It was registered on 22 Sep 2017, and its status is unknown.
Another company, CONSTRUCTION LOGISTICS LTD, paid 10,000,000.00 into Marie Stopes’s FCMB account 0739250018 on 04/04/2018. The company also paid N50,000,000.00 into the same account on 05/04/2018.
Within two months, BLUESWORTH RESOURCES paid a whooping sum of N538,100,000 into Marie Stopes FCMB account 0739250018. The transactions were done between 26/03/2018 and 04/05/2018. It is germane to note that the company, owned by Banjo O. Wasiu and Banjo O. Adijat, was incorporated in OJOTA, Nigeria, with Registration Number 450869. It was registered on 23 May 2002, and its status is unknown.
A pharmaceutical company, LIZAK PHARMACEUTICAL LTD, incorporated on 18 Jan 1998 (25 years ago), with registration number 327442, linked to a politician identified as Alhaji Aliyu Zakari Jiya credited MARIE STOPES Nigeria with the sum of N30,000,000.00 on 1 June 2015. The amount was paid in three tranches. On 02/06/2015, the company also paid 10,000,000.00 to Marie Stopes. All monies were paid into FCMB account 739250025.
Alarmed by this influx, SecretReporters visited their head office in Abuja to have a first-hand chat with the Country Director, Emmanuel Ujah, on who these supposed ‘partners’ are pumping millions into the company’s accounts.
THE VISIT TO MARIE STOPES NIGERIA
On Tuesday, 28th June 2022, SecretReporters visited Marie Stopes Clinic, Abuja, located at 29 A.E. Ekukinam Street, Utako 900108, Abuja, to inquire about their services and connection with the above-mentioned companies. The personnel who spoke to our correspondents said they were not in a position to respond to the issues and referred our team to their head office at 59, Anthony Enahoro Street, Utako, Abuja.
Our team was greeted by an unfriendly and obnoxious ruse at the gate. The security men on duty told our correspondent that no one could enter the building except on appointment, not even for media enquiries–which is strange for an NGO with a public interest.
When the Team insisted on seeing any administrative staff, the security personnel made a call, and the coordinator, of Corporate Services, Susan Jummai Gashau, came out to speak with them. She affirmed that no one could visit the ‘NGO’ to make enquiries except by invitation or appointment. She, however, asked the SecretReporters Team to write a letter seeking an appointment with the Country Director. This was done, and the letter was acknowledged by Susan, who promised to revert with a scheduled date for the meeting to hold. A reminder was sent about a week later but was completely ignored.
SecretReporters, on 20th July 2022, paid another visit to Marie Stopes’s head office in Abuja, and the narrative was the same at the gate. When a call was made to Susan, she said her boss had yet to issue a directive on the next line of action.
On July 21st, SecretReporters sent an email to MSI’s head office in the United Kingdom, to ask if it was aware of the monetary transactions by its Nigerian branch and if a local branch is permitted to make such transactions. They did not respond to the mail, and despite sending a reminder four days later, on the 25th, MSI still did not respond to the mail.
Determined to speak with the NGO, our team, on Wednesday, 31st August 2022, paid another visit to their head office at 59, Anthony Enahoro Street, Utako, Abuja. Again, the team was greeted by the same unfriendly and obnoxious ruse at the gate, the security men firmly maintaining that no one could enter the compound except on appointment. Despite exerting efforts to speak with any personnel on ground, they maintained that it was impossible to gain entrance, and speaking with their personnel is only on invitation.
More worrying was that a female staff exiting the building said to the security personnel, ‘Do not allow anyone to enter the compound’.
With the above damning influx of cash laced with irregularities, the complexity of gaining access to the company’s premises, and Marie Stopes’s unwillingness to speak to SecretReporters, it will not be out of place to aver that the NGO has cockroaches hidden in its cupboard.