Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Charity Racket: How a Briton Defrauds Akwa Ibom Government of $2.5M By George Baldwin

Gov Godswill Obot Akpabio
of Akwa Ibom State
 A British charity worker, Mr Gary James Foxcroft has been reportedly plotting  a $2.5m fraud on Akwa Ibom State government in Nigeria with  inside accomplices . A high ranking official working in the Ministry of Education divulged this  to our reporter in a recorded  phone conversation. 

"Yes I can confirm to you that a senior government official is colluding with Mr Gary Foxcroft to commit a grand larceny and fraud  with the hope of getting his own cut; and some documentations have been procured to that effect so that it will look genuine. They termed it 'Grant for training of teachers and children.' Right now, part of the fund will be committed to their hands in a week from now, the rest will be disbursed after three months," the official said
Under the aegis of  a not-for-profit organization, Stepping Stones Nigeria (SSN),  Mr. Froxcroft fronts his wife, Mrs Naomi Foxcroft  to the volatile Niger Delta region only with one object: to swindle the Akwa Ibom State government of a whooping $2.5 million US Dollars.
Mrs. Foxcroft who uses her maiden name,  Naomi Chapel under the cover and impression that Stepping Stones Nigeria (SSN) was now under a new leadership after it fell apart with Akwa Ibom state government in 2010; and that Mr. Foxcroft resigned from the organization  since 2011. This gesture will be returned in kind by way launching a wide media praise singing once the money is shared
However, a volunteer with SSN  in Lancaster,  United Kingdom who spoke on account of anonymity revealed that Mr. Foxcroft only stepped aside temporarily to enable him fully develop his two new organizations, Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN) and Universal Learning Solution (ULS), a borrowed plumes from Jolly Phonics in the UK,  both equally based in Lancaster (with undisclosed addresses); and in order to douse tension that   has greeted SSN over the N15 million bribe scandal that rocked the organization about two years ago.
"No, no, he did not resign from Stepping Stones Nigeria! He only took a sabbatical to relieve himself of the tension and to use that period to develop the two new organizations I just mentioned to you. Check on their website and Facebook pages I gave you,  you'll see what I'm trying to say," the volunteer stated. 
Checks confirmed that, apart from SSN which Naomi Foxcroft is now posing as the Acting Director, both Witchcraft and Human Right Information Network (WHRIN) and Universal Learning Solution (ULS) are both headed by Mr. Foxcroft. 
Checks also reveal that Mr Foxcroft  is also the head of Jolly Phonics Nigeria, one of the four Foxcroft-led  organizations packaged in the said proposals to defraud Akwa Ibom government. 
Though Foxcroft refused to respond to the various overtures including phone calls and emails  for  an interview, an SSN official said  that they applied for grant from Akwa Ibom government and they were in the process of getting it. 
"Listen, I don't know what you call scam or where do you get the version of your own story! We're registered charity and have the right to apply for funding from any organization," she fumed. 
On why Foxcroft is no longer the spokesperson of the organization, she said.
"Whether it's Gary or not, it's  under a charities and  he's still part of SSN if that's your problem! Emily Secker is the new spokesperson and Naomi Foxcroft is the acting Head" she explained further.
In 2011, the Nigerian arm of the SSN, called  Stepping Stones Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation (SSNCEF) based in Eket, Akwa Ibom State won a $150,000 rising star award grant from Star Foundation, a UK charity foundation   meant for 2012 year. But in a swift turn of events, Mr. Foxcroft reportedly pocketed $20,000 from the grant on what he called "one-off payment" for his role and effort to secure the grant.
This development did not go down well with Mr. Lucky-Imo Inyang, the founder and then Program Director of SSNCEF in Nigeria who vehemently challenged Foxcroft  for the pocketing of such a staggering  amount of money, which was never included in the proposals during application. Piqued by this affront, Foxcroft mobilized a few hands of the SSNCEF Trustees in Nigeria with financial inducement to compel Mr Inyang's resignation on a flimsy ground of what he called "incompetence and lack of qualification" to head such organization. 
When Inyang refused to resign, Foxcroft was said to have bribed the Nigerian Mobile Police picked on the roadside  to terrorize Inyang. In order to concentrate with his studies, in the University of Uyo and students union government election which he subsequently won as president, Inyang threw in the towel, and a certain Utibe Ikot whose father is a former secretary  of Esit Eket Local Government Council was horridly drafted as Acting Program Director which gave Foxcroft an easy ride and leeway to  pocket his controversial 'one-off payment' without question. But Ikot resigned and skidded to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) when Foxcroft again accused him of what he called 'massive fraud and gross misconduct'
However,  within  a year of Inyan's exit, the SSNCEF suffered a setback and was closed down. A check on its office at #2 Clinic Road Extension, Eket shows that the place is now under locked and keyed with morse and rodents the only official inhabitants of the place. Yet the $150,000 grant from Star Foundation which remained unused was not returned to the grantor as charity law demands, as investigation has revealed.
A former SSNCEF staff, who merely gave his name  as Effiong Umoh, told our reporter that Foxcroft who was the intermediary for collection and release of the fund kept 3/4 (which is 75%) of it, pending reports of the first quarter, before the final collapse of SSNCEF
"If he's not returned the unused fund to the donor, that means he's lining his pocket as usual  with the children money, that's too bad... Even the children who're abandoned at Eket Stadium did not get a dime from it" the ex-SSNCEF staffer decried.
As the day closes by, the Briton by the name Mr Gary James Foxcroft and his co-accomplices in Akwa Ibom government employ, are waiting to smile their way to the bank using the name of charity work. This is no doubt, a grand charity racket! 

The 3Rs: An Evening with Darcus Howe

Go back to where you started, or as far back as you can, examine all of it, travel your road again and tell the truth about it. Sing or shout or testify or keep it to yourself: but know whence you came.
(James Baldwin, 1985)
James Baldwin's words possess a truth for Black British citizens in a context where history is all too-often an experience of redaction, disregard or scant information. To forge lines of continuity to the past that can thrive and survive under such conditions requires tenacity and temerity - and an indefatigable commitment to sing, to shout, and to testify to the value of one's heritage.
The Renegade Raconteurs Series will celebrate key figures of modern British history, people whose activism, and determination illustrates just how much our society as a whole benefits from the mesh of cultures, ethnicities and experiences that constitute contemporary Britain. In organising the event D-Day to mark Diane Abbott's 25 years as an MP at Goldsmiths, University of London last year, it became apparent to me from talking to many audience members that the thirst to particpate, listen to, reflect and debate so many ideas and issues in a celebratory but informative way, was a thirst shared right across the generational spectrum. The opportunity to remember, and importantly, the chance to show appreciation and also, to learn about Black British history from those who have contributed so much to it, was a fundamental part of the day's success.
Triggered by a young man's mispronunciation of an eminent person's name, I thought, this young man cannot be blamed for not knowing what he has probably not been taught. For where can one learn wholesale, in any school in the country, the scope of what black people in Britain have achieved in detail, and to understand just what it means? Renegade Raconteurs aims to play a modest part in the act of redressing this.
The series begins with Darcus Howe, the pioneering political activist, broadcaster and writer who exemplifies a vivid lesson in the 3Rs as: Radical, Renegade, Raconteur. In the presence of family, friends, supporters, young people and Goldsmiths students and staff, Darcus will reflect upon his life and times in its many forms. In particular, Goldsmiths' position in the heart of New Cross, recalls poignantly, the work Darcus spearheaded with others in the wake of the tragedy of the Fire, the clarion call to value the lives of Britain's black citizens - a movement from which there has been no turning back.
Expect an evening of anecdotes, opinions, music, and audience contributions, as we celebrate and honour a remarkable, longstanding, and unique voice in Black British history.
STRICTLY FIRST COME FIRST SERVED and only named attendees will receive further details.
RSVP As soon as possible to Organiser: Dr. Deirdre Osborne d.osborne@gold.ac.uk