By Sylvanus Ofekun
As several investigations surrounding the finances of the Nigeria Football Federation NFF by the anti graft agencies begin to find space in the public domain,the President of NFF, Amaju Pinnick  on Saturday met with Sports editors in Lagos at the Eko hotel, Lagos.
Our corrospondent learnt that the meeting was at the instance of  the NFF president in order to avoid negative reports,especially with investigation by the Special Presidential Panel on the Recovery of Public Property headed by Bar.Okoi Obono Obla and more recently the insistence by the Sports Minister , Solomon Dalung that the NFF should retire the sum 1.6 Billion Naria World cup funds.
On  Saturday, some online media platforms reported a travel ban  on Amaju Pinnick by the Federal Government ,pending the conclusion of the investigation by the special  presidential panel.A report that the NFF Director of Media,Ademola Olajire denied and hinted that the federation will sue the publisher of the news.
“The attention of the Nigeria Football Federation has been drawn to a news item circulating in a section of the media saying a directive has been issued by President Muhammadu Buhari that the President of NFF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick be prosecuted and that Pinnick has also been issued with a travel ban.

“The report is completely unfounded and is only a product of the writer’s imagination. The NFF President, who is also the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, has not received any such message from any of the agencies mentioned by the writer and has also never been placed on travel ban.
“Mr. Pinnick was in Accra, Ghana on Friday, 4th January 2019 for a meeting with NFF and CAF partners AITEO and returned to Nigeria the same day. He has been going about his lawful official and private activities unhindered. The NFF published its audited account in two (2) major national newspapers (ThisDay and Daily Trust) on Thursday, 20th December 2018 and in another major newspaper (Vanguard) on Tuesday, 25th December 2018. Anyone interested in the Federation’s financial transactions can refer to those pages.
“All incomes into the NFF from the Federal Government, FIFA and CAF from 2014 till now have been correctly recorded and reflected in our accounts. The NFF received nothing like the N59 Billion that the fake news reporters have been hawking. It is laughable.“Our lawyers will take up the matter of the fake news item with the newspaper company that first published it in its online edition. But we urge other media companies and outlets to be painstaking in verification of their news items.”Olajire stated.
Attempts to get through to the Chairman of the Special Presidential Panel Bar Obla proved abortive as his phones were switched off at press time.
However,our  correspondent sighted  the EFCC preliminary report, where the anti graft agency stated that it commenced full investigation into the finances of the NFF and discovered that the domiciliary accounts of the NFF domiciled with Zenith Bank and UBA had received total inflow of $16,417,761 from FIFA and CAF between January, 2014 and June, 2016 as follows:

1. 18/12/2014 Zenith Bank, Ac No: 5070407456,

$8,400,000 (FIFA); 23/01/2015, Zenith Bank, Ac No: 5070407456,

$450,000 (FIFA); 25/03/2015, Zenith Bank, Ac No: 5070407456,

$1,081,000 (CAF); 13/10/2015 Zenith Bank, Ac No: 5070407456,

$3000 (CAF); 12/01/2014, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$1,500,000 (FIFA); 15/01/2014 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$1,746,745 (CAF); 19/03/2014 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$249,950 (CAF); 12/12/2014 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$301,467 (FIFA);14/05/2015 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$30,000 (FIFA); 31/07/2015 UBA, AcNo: 3000004944,

$315,149 (FIFA); 14/08/2015, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$399,000 (FIFA); 11/09/2015 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$300,000 (FIFA); 16/10/2015, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$850,149 (FIFA); 18/11/2015, UBA,Ac No: 3000004944,

$2,990 (CAF); 12/02/2016, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$79,540 (FIFA); 15/03/2016, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944,

$299,000, (CAF); 22/06/2016 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $9,930 (CAF).

Magu in the report also informed  President  Buhari that investigation into the case had been concluded. He added that Christopher Andekin; Head, Finance and Administration, NFF, Jafaru Mamzah and a cashier with the Finance and Administration department of NFF, Rajan Zaka were indicted and arraigned on October 15, 2018 before Justice P.O. Affem of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, No 19 Maitama Abuja on five criminal charges of conspiracy and criminal breach of trust by a public officer.

The EFCC’s boss further informed Buhari that the commission also received another petition dated April 24, 2016 captioned ‘Monumental stealing and financial crisis in the Nigeria Football Federation’, from James Peters of Amal Pepple Estate, Abuja.

He stated that in the course of investigation, the Minister (Sports) forwarded to the commission, documents in support of the petition revealing sponsorship deals amounting to N1.14bn and $1.55m via his letter No. HMY &SP/003/2018/55 dates August 7, 2018.

Magu said, “Investigation into this petition has so far established that the NFF has sponsorship deals with 21 corporate organisation. The investigation further revealed that between 2008 and 2018, 11 out of the 21 corporate organisations made sponsorship payment of N5,288,990,000 and $1,550,000 to NFF as against the amount stated in the ministers’ letter under reference above.

“One of the companies appointed as financial consultant to the NFF is owned by the 2nd Vice President of the NFF in person of Alhaji Shehu Dikko. The audit trail of the funds and its utilisation is currently ongoing with a view to prosecuting anyone found culpable of any offence.”

Recently the war between the NFF and the Sports Ministry have taken a new dimension over the sum of 1.6 Billion Naria World cup funds yet to be reitred,a claim also the NFF denied.
In the light of the above,the days  ahead will open up a lot that had been hidden in time past as the Special  Presidential Panel will submit their report.


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