NIGERIAN Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick and four other officials have been charged with the misappropriation of $8,400 paid as a subvention by global footballing body Fifa.
It is believed that the money was paid by Fifa to the NFF as Nigeria’s appearance fees in the group stages of the Brazil 2014 World Cup. The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIRPP) led by Okoi Obono-Obla, which instituted the case against the NFF officials, also accused the defendants of failure and neglect when it came to declaring their assets.
In the case filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday, containing 17 counts, the five defendants were also accused of moving dishonestly and intentionally the sum of about N4bn belonging to the NFF without its consent. Apart from Mr Pinnick, the other defendants named in the case are the NFF secretary Sanusi Mohammed, first vice president Seyi Akinwumi, second vice president, Shehu Dikko and executive member Yusuf Fresh.
Filed by SPIRPP on behalf of the attorney-general of the federation Abubakar Malami, the charged sheet was signed by Dr Celsius Ukpong. in the suit, the prosecution accused the defendants of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, theft, criminal misappropriation in respect of their handling of $8,400 and N4bn belonging to the NFF.
These offences were said to be contrary to and punishable under various provisions of the Penal Code (Cap 105) LFN. Mr Pinnick and his co-defendants were also accused of failure and neglect to declare their assets to the SPIRPP, contrary to and punishable under section 3(3)(a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, 2004.
In addition, the prosecution specifically accused Mr Pinnick of appointing a company he had an interest in, Financial Derivatives, as a financial consultant to the NFF, contrary to Section 5 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. SPIRPP said he was liable to be punished under sections 1(2) and 10(1)(a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, 2004 for this.
Mr Dikko, for his part, was accused of allowing Mediterranean Sports to be appointed as a marketing agent to NFF in violation of the same provision of the same Act.