Alleged $8.4m fraud: Court acquits Amaju Pinnick, others

Amaju Pinnick

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, discharged and acquitted President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, of charges bordering on fraud to the tune of 8.4 million dollars.

Other members of the board of the NFF who were also discharged of similar offences by the court include: Seyi Akinwunmi (1st Vice President), Shehu Dikko (2nd Vice President), Mohammed Sanusi (General Secretary) and Ahmed Yusuf (Executive Committee member).

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NFF executives were charged on 16 counts of corruption and misappropriation of the said sums from the 2014 FIFA Grant, and conflict of interest and non-declaration of assets, by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) headed by Okon Obono-Obla.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who dismissed the entire case with all 16 charges, acquitted the NFF chieftains after counsel representing the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice applied to withdraw the charges.

NAN reports that the AGF had taken over the case from the office of the SPIP which originally instituted the case against the defendants.

The AGF counsel stated that it could not proceed with the matter as the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges.

Mohammed Katu, counsel to the defendants, applied to the court to dismiss the charges and also discharge and acquit the NFF chieftains of the charges.

Katu said that since both anti-graft agencies had withdrawn their cases, there was nothing to further adjudicate on the matter.

“The inquiry is focusing on money generated from the NFF’s official sponsors, domestic league’s television sponsorship and payments from a former kit supplier for all the national teams.

“It also focused on funds provided by federal and state governments for friendly matches involving the Super Eagles and the misappropriation of about 2.7 million dollars from the Financial Assistance Programme of football world governing body, FIFA.”

Justice Ojukwu, thereafter, ruled that she had no option but to discharge and acquit the defendants on all counts, wondering why the case was brought to the court in the first place.

Officials of the federation have been under investigation for alleged 8.4 million dollar-fraud related to sponsorship money meant for the development of football, according to the country’s anti-graft agencies, EFCC and ICPC.