Alleged $9.5m FIFA Grant Embezzlement: AGF to Report on Harmonization Dec 16

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Peter Affen of an Abuja High Court on Tuesday fixed December 16, 2019 for the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to report on the harmonisation of cases filed against some officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) in the alleged misappropriation of $9.5 million grant from the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

Justice Affen at the last sitting had fixed October 22 for ruling in the application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to include Amaju Pinnick and Dr Mohammed Sanusi, President and Secretary-General respectively of the NFF.

EFCC had dragged three officials of the NFF before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court over allegations of misappropriating the sum of $9.5 million grant received from FIFA before applying on April 30 to join both Pinnick and Sanusi in the matter as co-defendants.

The three officials earlier arraigned are NFF Director of Administration and Finance, Christopher Andekin; Cashier, Reagan Zaka; and Head, Finance and Account Department, Fadanari Mamza.

They were arraigned on a five-count criminal charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation.

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

Andekin was alleged to have been entrusted with the money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from the world football body, FIFA.

He was alleged to have 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, was said to have fraudulently diverted $7.2 million from the FIFA grant, while Mamza was alleged of diverting $2.3 million.

The defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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

According to him, the charge filed by the government against the first and second defendants and both Pinnick and Sanusi at the Federal High Court in Abuja was different from the one at the FCT High Court.

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

At the resumed hearing, Senior State Counsel, 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.

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.

EFCC counsel, Mr Makinde Olufemi, told the court that they are left with no option than to go with the possible date given.

Justice Affen then adjourned until December 16 for the AGF to report on the outcome of the harmonisation.