The Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation has sacked its London-based Chief Executive Officer, Anne Welsh, following video evidence allegedly showing that she had been involved in money laundering activities for many years.
It was learnt that Welsh, a former investment banker, met the former president during a conference in Brussels, Belgium in 2011 when she was the Chairperson of the Sickle Cell Society.
The video footage, which was discreetly shot by one of the participants at a United Kingdon meeting in December 2014, showed how Welsh allegedly plotted 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 Obasanjo Foundation for some work in Sierra Leone.
The video, which was obtained by SaharaReporters and viewed by Saturday PUNCH, 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.
Welsh assured the potential ‘donors’ that it would not be a problem as she was well-grounded in the art of being discreet.
“I had to go through training, through president Obasanjo, political training for one year to become discreet,” she said in the video.
She added, “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 paper 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.”
The group, however, told her they did not care how the money given to the foundation was spent as long as their interest was protected.
Welsh then demanded from the group an interest of 30 per cent of 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 proposed.
The video evidence also showed that the group agreed to give her the 30 per cent, which was $900,000 (N180m), and detailed how the money would be transferred via a Nigerian bank which she uses.
In an apparent reaction to the allegations, the Obasanjo Foundation had sacked Welsh for plotting to help some Lebanese businessmen to launder millions of dollars.
The former president, Obasanjo, told SaharaReporters that he and other trustees of the organisation as well as staff members of the foundation were deeply saddened and disturbed by the allegations against Welsh.
He said the foundation had forced her to resign and had launched a full-scale investigation into the allegations. He also said the matter had been reported to the London Metropolitan Police and the UK Charity Commission for a thorough probe.
“We have asked the two authorities to investigate the matter exhaustively,” Obasanjo said.
In her reaction, Welsh confirmed details of the meeting, stating that she was indeed present, but denied that any wrongdoing took place.
She also confirmed that she clearly stated her name over the course of the meeting, but refused to disclose any of the “so much secret things” she said she had done with Obasanjo.
When our correspondent contacted the office of the former president to seek more clarifications on the issue, it was gathered that he had left the country.
His Chief of Staff, Mr. Victor Durodola, however, confirmed the development to our correspondent.
“It is true and it is sad, “he briefly said.
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