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ICPC denies “Chief Legal Officer” prosecuting NFF
CONTRARY to a report that a 17-count charge has been brought against the NFF, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has disclosed that it did not authorise its Chief Legal Officer to file a case against the officials.
In a report by TheCable, Celsus Ukpong, Chief Legal Officer who had earlier filed the case–suit no. FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation on Tuesday, charged five NFF officials before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court with over 17 allegations bordering on corruption.
Rasheedat Okoduwa, spokesperson of the anti-graft agency denied, that Ukpong was acting on behalf of the agency. She said that Okoi Obono-Obla is still the chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) till date.
“Mr. Ukpong is not prosecuting NFF on behalf of ICPC. The commission has withdrawn him from SPIP. The secretary to the government of the federation in a letter dated 14 February 2019 also directed the chairman of SPIP to release him immediately,” Okoduwa said.
On Tuesday, SPIP, acting on behalf of the federal government, alleged that NFF officials had transfer the sum of four billion naira to a yet to be identified account and misappropriated $8.4 million, belonging to the federation, paid however, by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to the NFF as appearance fees for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Hon. Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the NFF, earlier in a statement described the charges filed against its leadership as not a directive from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The orchestrated media blitz about the existence of such charges is nothing but the desperate and malicious efforts of the Chief Okoi Obono-Obla led Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) to lend itself as an instrument of cheap blackmail in the fight for the political leadership of NFF.
“Currently pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja is Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/17/2019 filed by NFF against SPIP and 3 others, including Chief Obono-Obla himself. NFF in the suit is challenging the competence of SPIP under the law to purport to investigate or prosecute NFF or its leadership,” read the statement.
The accused persons are Amaju Pinnick (NFF president), Seyi Akinwunmi, 1st vice president, Shehu Dikko, 2nd vice president, Mohammed Sanusi, general secretary and Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, NFF executive member.