Athletics: Nigeria risks global ban for refusing to refund $130,000 paid to it in error

Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung,
Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung,

The International Association of Athletics Federation has threatened to sanction its affiliate body in Nigeria, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria if it fails to, within a fresh two-week deadline, refund the monies wrongfully paid into the account of the federation since May 17, 2017.

In a letter sent to the president of the AFN, Ibrahim Gusau, and signed by the IAAF Senior Manager, Governance, Jee Isram, it said the AFN was contacted immediately the anomaly was noticed on March 18, 2018, to refund the sum of $130,000 that was wrongly credited.

Giving details of the correspondences between both federations and even the Minister of Sports Solomon Dalung, Mr Isram noted in the letter: “You were informed on 18 March 2018 by our CEO of a payment made by the IAAF to the bank account of your federation on 17 May 2017. A sum of 150,000 US Dollars was transferred by the IAAF of which 130,000 US Dollars were wrongfully credited.

“We promptly notified you of this over-payment and followed up several written correspondences as well as a meeting with you in November 2017, requesting that you reverse the bank transfer for the overpaid amount to no avail.

“On 28 June 2018, you informed us that the Ministry of sports was ready to refund 50 per cent of that amount and despite several telephone conversations, the amount was still not paid. While we were in Asaba in August 2018 during the African Senior Championships we met with the minister of sports and his permanent secretary. We discussed about the return of the funds to the IAAF and until today we have not heard anything.

“We understand that the Minister of Sports will be stepping down soon and it is imperative that you arrange for the return of the full amount within two weeks, at the latest. Failure to receive the funds back within that period, we will have no alternative than to apply appropriate sanctions against your Federation.”

The present AFN board have been grappling with different issues since coming in and would be further shattered by this latest development.

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