THE federal government has filed a 17-count corruption charge against the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, and four others, for allegedly misappropriating the sum of $8.4 million being the appearance fee paid to the federation by FIFA for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The four others include, Seyi Akinwumi, NFF’s first Vice President; Shehu Dikko, the second Vice President; Mohammed Sanusi – General Secretary, and Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, an NFF executive member.
The charges were filed on behalf of the federal government by the Special Presidential Investigative and recovery Panel (SPIP), headed by Okoi Obono-Obla.
The panel also accused the defendants of failure to declare their assets in accordance to the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act 2004.
Pinnick and Dikko were specifically accused of appointing ‘Financial Derivatives’, a company in which they have an interest, as financial consultants to the NFF, and thereby contravening the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
Also included in the listed charges, was the allegation that the defendants “dishonestly and intentionally” moved the sum of about N4 billion belonging to the NFF without the consent of the federation.
There have been reports that NIGERIAN football officials usually hide behind the FIFA regulation that prohibits government’s interference in football matters to divert grants and funds from sponsorship deals.
Both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Ministry of Sports have raised complaints over the alleged anomaly but they could not expressly take action against the NFF lest FIFA interpret it as interference and ban Nigeria from all football-related activity.
An investigation by Premium Times revealed how the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, in December 2016, petitioned the EFCC requesting an investigation into the NFF’s finances with regards to $802,000.00 which he said was a FIFA grant that had not been accountably managed.
The EFCC claims that in two years, beginning January 2014, the NFF, under Amaju Pinnick, has received a total of $16.4 million – including over $13 million from FIFA alone and the rest from CAF – into its domiciliary accounts domiciled with the Zenith Bank and UBA.