Illegal Korean hospital comes out of hiding, debunks


LILU Specialist Hospital, an illegal facility operated by a Korean, Jongsu Kim, in Abuja, has reacted to The ICIR’s findings about its activities.

In its reaction to the report, the hospital denied its name and gave itself another identity.

The reporter’s registration card at the hospital

Speaking through one Muhammad Mahmood, its media adviser, the facility also denied that it shut down, even though it had closed its doors since the ICIR published its first report on January 31, 2023.

As of the time of filing this report at 2: p.m. on February 9, the hospital was not open to the public, though its workers were indoors.

The ICIR’s reports detailed how the hospital’s manager drives around Abuja in an SUV bearing a diplomatic number plate, enjoyed by only diplomats.

Presidency officials, a former Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, and at least four senior advocates of Nigeria are among those that receive treatment at the facility.

The Private Health Establishments Registration and Monitoring Committee (PHERMC), a department under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Health Secretariat, is the agency that registers and monitors private hospitals’ operations in Abuja.  

PHERMC's bus conveyed the Department's officials to Lilu Specialist Hospital on Friday but the hospital was locked
PHERMC’s bus conveyed the Department’s officials to Lilu Specialist Hospital on Friday but the hospital was locked

The PHERMC confirmed to The ICIR that the hospital never applied for registration and is not registered to operate in the city.  

The hospital does not have a signboard. It did not have a bank account when the larger part of this investigation was carried out between June and October 2022 and was not paying tax to the government as required by law.  

For instance, the hospital was not paying the “Pay As You Earn” (PAYE) tax to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even though it has Tax Identification Number 20913237. PAYE is the tax companies deduct from their employees’ salaries and remit to the government. 

The ICIR learnt that its reports on the hospital’s operations were causing some storms within the highest level of power in the country.

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However, a source in the medical community, who pleaded anonymity, said prominent Nigerians and government officials aid foreign doctors coming to Nigeria because they want to cut the cost of travelling abroad for treatment.  

The source said no matter what anyone does to stop the operations of hospitals where those sponsored doctors work, the people who bring them into the country would have their way.  

Responding to the ICIR’s findings, the hospital said in its rebuttal, “The facility was not forced by any authorities to shut down its activities as claimed, but they are attending to some functions approved by the Korean Embassy since they are not operating a full-time organisation.”

The ICIR describes this statement as untrue. Lilu Specialist Hospital has operated fully since it moved to its Wuse Zone 2 centre in early 2022.

Similarly, Mahmood said in the statement that “reports online show that the expatriates were operating a hospital by the name of LILU. This is to inform the general public that the Korean has never operated under Lilu Hospital, it is just a mere speculation, but they only operate Acupuncture as an alternative therapy for body muscle straightening and a Spa”.

This is a deliberate falsehood. More than four documents The ICIR obtained when its reporter had an undercover test at the hospital bear “Lilu Specialist Hospital.”

Certificate of Incorporation bearing Lilu specialist hospital on the hospital’s wall

The ICIR reports that Lilu Specialist Hospital might be attempting to change its name because a businessman based in Awka, Bartholomew Chigozie Awugozi, one of its directors, claimed he owned the facility.

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The ICIR contacted Awugozi, who expressed shock that the hospital he opened in Port-Harcourt some years ago and had shut down because it was not yielding returns was running in Abuja by people he claimed not to know. 

When contacted, the hospital’s lawyer, Matthias Adeyemi, agreed that “some” of the ICIR findings were true.

The ICIR finds it curious that the hospital now parades a media adviser, except it has just hired him.

All through the period the investigations lasted, the hospital only referred the ICIR reporter to its lawyer. The lawyer never mentioned the facility had a media adviser.

A second report on February 3, 2023, revealed that the facility had shut down and health officials from PHERMC were on Kim’s trail and other workers at the hospital.

In its rebuttal, Lilu Specialist Hospital referred to itself as “Acupuncture Therapy and Spa,” a name it never bore before The ICIR’s findings.

Mahmood further exposed the hospital by claiming its manager is not Jongsu Kim but ‘Hak’.

Lilu Specialist Hospital's flier
Lilu Specialist Hospital’s flier

The hospital’s manager had told the ICIR reporter he was Jongsu Kim and had given his bank account to the reporter to pay for services the hospital rendered to him while investigating the facility.

As of September 2022, when The ICIR was investigating the facility, Kim received payment of bills by patients into his personal account rather than the hospital’s. The facility treated each patient for between N150,000 and N500,000 and attended to many patients. 

During the investigation, The ICIR contacted several government agencies, including the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), FCT Internal Revenue Service (FCT IRS), Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and the Chinese and Korean embassies.

The ICIR was also at the Lilu community in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, where the hospital was initially registered to operate. Lilu community bears the same name as the hospital.

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