Alleged $9.5m FIFA Grant Misappropriation: Court gives AGF date to harmonise charges

NFF Chairman and CAF VP, Amaju Pinnick
NFF Chairman and CAF VP, Amaju Pinnick

The Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) High Court in Maitama, on Tuesday, fixed December 16 for the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to report on the harmonisation of the cases against some Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) officials in the alleged misappropriation of $9.5 million FIFA grant.

Justice Peter Affen had earlier fixed October 22 for ruling on the application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to join the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, and Secretary-General, Mohammed Sanusi, in the trial for the alleged misappropriation.

The EFCC dragged three officials of the Federation before the court over the matter before applying on April 30 to join both Messrs Pinnick and Sanusi as co-defendants.

Those being tried earlier are Christopher Andekin, NFF Director of Administration and Finance; Reagan Zaka, cashier; and Fadanari Mamza, Head, Finance and Account Department.

The EFCC charged the defendants with five counts bordering on criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation.

The anti-graft agency alleged that they conspired between January 8 and 26, 2015 to commit the offence, contrary to Section 97 of Penal Code.

Mr Andekin was alleged to have been entrusted with money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from world football body, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

He was alleged to have fraudulently diverted 1.3 million dollars from the NFF domiciliary account with Zenith Bank, an act that is contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code.

Mr Zaka, on his part, was said to have fraudulently diverted 7.2 million dollars from the FIFA grant, while Mr Mamza was alleged of diverting 2. 3 million dollars.

The defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

On June 27, while adopting processes filed in support of the application for joinder the prosecuting counsel, Steve Odiase, urged the court to grant the application.

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Mr Odiase sad the charges filed by the government against the first and second defendants at the Federal High Court in Abuja was different from the one at the FCT High Court.

On his part, counsel for the defendants, Festus Ukpe, while adopting affidavits opposing the joinder, urged the court to refuse the application.

Court session

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, a senior state counsel at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abubakar Musa, told the court that the AGF wanted all the matters against the defendants pending in different courts to be harmonised.

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Mr Musa prayed the court that, in the interest of justice and to avoid abuse of court processes, time should be given to them to harmonise the cases.

The EFCC counsel, Makinde Olufemi, while responding said that they are left with no option than to go with the possible date given.

Following this, Mr Affen adjourned to December 16 for the AGF to report on the outcome of the harmonisation.

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