- Minister Denies
The husband and son of immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, are set to open a multi-million dollar hospital in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s husband, Ikemba Iweala, and their son, Uchechi Iweala, are teaming up to establish the Capital Health and Surgical Care Center in Abuja. Both men, who are medical doctors, will serve as chairman of the board and medical director respectively at the medical facility described as state of the art.
The hospital was originally to be formally opened last June by former President Goodluck Jonathan, on the assumption that he would be reelected. Mr. Jonathan’s defeat froze the idea.
Information available on the hospital’s website, http://www.chscnigeria.com/home/page?id=Press, states that the hospital “is conceived to improvetertiary-level healthcare delivery in Nigeria and Greater West Africa by providing top-rate service of international standard.” The hospital, which has been quietly under construction and development in the last three years, is equipped with 50 beds, three operating rooms, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and CT scan.
The undisclosed financiers of the project apparently spared no expense in conceiving the project. The project’s architectural design was undertaken by Perkins + Will Global (http://perkinswill.com), a major player in the world’s architectural scene. The firm is based in Washington, DC with offices in more than 24 countries all over the world. The firm of architects has designed various multi-billion dollar projects in the US, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. The hospital’s interior design was done by Perkins + Will/DAR Group.
Another US-based multinational company, General Electric, handled the hospital’s technological equipment and infrastructure. The project does not list any indigenous Nigerian company as being involved in the conception or execution of any aspect of the hospital.
While the hospital’s website does not provide any cost estimate, two sources familiar with the project claimed that the Iweala’s hospital cost between$100 and $150 million.
An Abuja-based architect also told this reporter that the profile Perkins + Wills suggested that the hospital was pricey. “If we go by the scale of projects that Perkins + Wills gets involved in, then we can conclude that this was a major project,” the US-trained architect said.
The hospital’s website provides no information about the financing of the project. SaharaReporters contacted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to ascertain whether the anti-corruption agency knew the financial backers of the project. “No, we are not aware,” a senior EFCC official told our correspondent. He added that the agency had no reason to investigate the source of the hospital’s funds. He added, “The only issue is that the arrowheads of the hospital are family members of the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy. But we cannot just investigate unless we receive information that public funds were somehow committed to the project.”
ANOTHER LIE FROM SAHARA REPORTERS:
THE ALLEGED “MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR OKONJO-IWEALA FAMILY HOSPITAL” DOES NOT EXIST
Having failed to achieve any success after months of unsubstantiated figures and wild allegations against Dr Okonjo-Iweala, the political and corrupt vested interests who have been attacking her have now turned their evil attention on her family.
The false story, “Former Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala’s Family to open multi-million Dollar Hospital in Abuja” published by the corrupt website, Sahara Reporters is the latest chapter in the anti-Okonjo-Iweala campaign.
The story is totally baseless for a very simple reason: The alleged hospital is non-existent.
Anyone who is in doubt can go to Gwarinpa, Abuja where the hospital is allegedly located or enquire from General Electric and Perkins + Will Global, the two organisations that were mentioned as Consultants to the project in the report as to whether the hospital has been built.
The real facts are as follows:
- Dr Ikemba Iweala, the husband of Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a recently retired neuro-surgeon and emergency physician with over 40 years’ of practice in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Three of their four children are US trained medical doctors, including Uchechi Iweala who was mentioned in the story. Uchechi has an MD and MBA from Harvard.
- To actualize his desire to give back to the country, Dr Ikemba Iweala for the past few years has been working on establishing a hospital in the Federal Capital Territory. He has used his savings to develop the concept and design of the hospital. So far efforts to source financing for the project are ongoing.
- It is the prototype design and website of the yet to be realized project that Sahara Reporters, doing the bidding of its corrupt pay masters, seeks to turn into a multi-billion dollar evidence of corruption.
Why is Dr Okonjo-Iweala the object of this ceaseless campaign of falsehoods and distortions? The answer is simple: because she refused to steal and share and because she blocked many powerful people, some of whom are now in power, from stealing. That is why they would go to any lengths to tarnish her name.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala has a clean record of two terms in office. As we have consistently maintained, she is not afraid of a transparent investigation of her two terms in office. She supports the anti-corruption drive in Nigeria. No one who has had the privilege of serving his or her country should feel too big to be investigated. It is this very issue of fighting corruption that brought her back in the first place and she has a track record of blocking corruption. It is ironic that it is those same corrupt people who are trying to tarnish her image using corrupt media like Saharareporters.
People should recall that it was her fight against subsidy scammers that led to her mother being kidnapped in 2012 with the demand by the scammers that she should resign and leave the country.
Nigerians should prepare for more attacks because these people are desperate and drunk with power. But they will keep failing because the truth will ultimately prevail.
Incidentally, the hospital idea is still very much alive and anyone who is interested should please come forward to discuss possible investment. But there is a condition: the money must be clean. Corrupt people, especially lying governors, need not apply.
Paul C Nwabuikwu
Media Adviser to Dr Okonjo-Iweala