Disgraced former Israeli minister of Energy and Member of Parliament Gonen Segev, who had his medical licence seized by Israeli authorities in 2007, has been running a private clinic in Abuja for several years.
Mr. Segev who was recently arrested by Israeli authorities on allegations of selling state secrets to the Iranian embassy in Abuja set up Step In Clinic in Wuse Zone 4, Abuja where findings revealed he had been working with about two assistants and a number of nurses, technicians and has been treating members of the diplomatic corps and some Nigerians under the name Dr Gonen S. Wundermann, despite not having a medical licence to practice.
Mr. Segev, 65, Israel’s energy minister between 1994 and 1995, and one of the youngest members elected into the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) in 1992, had his medical licence seized following his conviction in 2004 for drug trafficking. He was arrested while attempting to smuggle thousands of ecstasy drugs from the Netherlands into Israel. He was also convicted for forgery and fraud after using pencil to extend his diplomatic passport to avoid being searched by Dutch authorities while trafficking the drugs.
After reporting his ATM card stolen, Segeve was photograped making withdrawals with the card in Hong Kong by the ATM camera. This earned him another conviction for fraud.
He was sentenced to five years imprisonment and his appeals to shorten his jail term and have his medical licence reinstated were both rejected by an Israeli court.
After his release from prison, Segev moved to Nigeria and established Step In Clinic, which was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission on November 1, 2013 with an RC number 1151144 and an address at Niafunke Street, Wuse II. However the clinic is at the moment located on Sfax Street, Wuse Zone 4.
Since his arrest last week, the clinic has been closed, as Daily Trust on Sunday found out, with the gate padlocked and no one to answer queries. Even the phone number listed on the hospital has been unreachable.
A security man who works close to the clinic informed Daily Trust on Sunday that the clinic has been in operation for years and has been treating both Nigerians and expatriates.
Some of his patients, who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday, credit “Dr Wundermann” with saving their lives and praised him for his professional and personalised services. He is reported to have saved the life of the ambassador of a European country who fell seriously ill while serving in Nigeria.
He even received a letter of praise from the Israeli foreign ministry for saving the life of an Israel security guard and Segev tried to leverage on this to have his licence reinstated to no avail.
“I first heard of him after he treated a friend of mine after a fall,” a former patient, who works in the diplomatic corps, said in a phone conversation. “And the first time he treated me was two years ago, for Malaria.”
She said Segev ran a small practice and offered hands-on services, treating patients directly with the help of his two assistants.
“Even when he’s not around and the assistants have to treat you, they had to call him for confirmation before proceeding.”
The diplomat, who did not want to be named, said Segev was personally invested in his patients’ lives and wellbeing.
“He knows your name, your file number, your family and friends. And he calls to follow up on treatment. There was a time he called me five times after I didn’t answer his call just to be sure I was OK,” she said.
A number of his patients said they later became aware of his legal issues shortly after starting treatment with him but it did not affect their confidence in him.
“He had his diplomas and certificates on display and they were all in his original name. I think calling himself Dr. Wundermann was just a marketing move,” she said.
“His licence was revoked for reasons that have nothing to do with his medical skills,” another former patient also in the diplomatic corps said.
Segev was said to have not been a regular at diplomats gathering, preferring to spend his afternoons with his girlfriend at Transcorp.
His clinic was a modest operation with two lab technicians, two nurses and only a single bed. He once had a Filipino nurse in his service but she was reported to have left a couple of years ago.
“He has affiliations with other hospitals where if there is need for admission, he could transfer his patients to,” Daily Trust on Sunday was told.
“I can’t comment on this allegation of spying for Iran because nothing has been proven yet, but his medical licence was revoked for non-medical reasons. He is a great doctor and human being and many people will credit him with saving their lives. I know he saved mine,” she said.