NFF Corruption Trials:Pinnick Begs Buhari for Protection

by on May 25, 2019

By Sylvanus Ofekun

President of the Nigeria Football Federation NFF, Amaju Pinnick has asked President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR for protection against corruption charges leveled against him by several anti corruption agencies in the country.

Pinnick made the revelation on Friday when he appeared on Channels Television breakfast programme “Sun Rise Daily,” in Lagos.He maintained that with his position both in CAF and FIFA,he ought to enjoy some privileges because he flies the Nigeria’s flag.

“Those of us in global picture,I am the first vice president of  CAF and  the president of AFCON,I  am organizing this AFCON.I am a member of the organizing committee,I  believe at this point that we should be protected because if you are talking about rebranding Nigeria,that is the first point of call. I give an example,when I go for  meetings in the FIFA organsing committee, when they put the name Amaju Pinnick, they put Nigeria and not NFF.When I talk,I talk like a Nigerian.

We have instructed our lawyers to forward petition to the Presidency and the Attorney General for them to look at it critically.What we are passing through is a mere persecution and it hurts us.”Pinnick stated.

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The NFF supremo blamed the crisis rocking Nigeria Football to some elements who he described as delusional to be behind the various corruption allegations leveled against him.

“We are dealing with a situation that we believe that  at the end of the day it is either  that Nigeria Football is a winner or loser when it comes to the crisis rocking Nigeria football.They are major distractions in Nigeria Football,you know what is  going on in Nigeria football.We ran for an election in September ,we won the election,even before the election,some of these people  came,they tried to stop the elections,they couldn’t stop the election.The next point of call was poring shipping of indictment,taking and writing all sorts of petition.Before the petition get to security agencies,they will publish it and put it in all forms of social media. They tried to dent our image.I am talking about a deep sited,call it delusional or sectional hatred without recourse to humanity,without recourse to national interest.They do not care what happen,if they don’t get it, nobody should  get it.”

When asked about the corruption cases against him,he admitted but failed to give details.

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“Some of these cases are in court and I don’t want to talk about it.” Pinnick told Channels Television.

The Federal Government had, through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property led by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, filed the case at the registry of the Federal High Court against the NFF officials.

The 17-count charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019, said the said amount allegedly misappropriated by the defendants was paid by FIFA to the NFF, as Nigeria’s appearance fees at the group stage of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

Other defendants listed in the charge are the Secretary of the NFF, Sunusi Mohammed; the first Vice-President of NFF, Seyi Akinwumi; the second Vice-President, Shehu Dikko, and an executive member of the federation, Yusuf Fresh.The case comes up on May 28.

The NFF President Amaju Pinnick will again appear  before Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court on May 30th in a case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC against him and the General Secretary of the football federation Dr. Mohammed Sanusi.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had approached the court to join Pinnick and Sanusi in the charge. Those standing trial earlier are Christopher Andekin, NFF Director of Administration and Finance, Reagan Zaka, Cashier and Fadanari Mamza, Head, Finance and Account Department.
They were charged by the EFCC on five counts of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation.
The court was told that the three defendants conspired between Jan. 8 and Jan. 26, 2015 to commit the offences, contrary to Section 97 of Penal Code. It was alleged that Andekin was entrusted with money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
It was further alleged that Andekin however fraudulently diverted $1.3 million from the NFF domiciliary account with Zenith Bank, an act that is contrary to section 311 of the Penal Code. Zaka on his part, allegedly diverted $7.2 million grant from FIFA for development of football in Nigeria while Mamza allegedly diverted $2.3 million.
They however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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