Authoritative online publication Premium Times has reported that Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency EFCC has uncovered fraud at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) running over $16 million (about 6 billion Naira) between 2014 and 2016.
These monies were from grants by FIFA and CAF.
In a most damning investigative report by Premium Times titled ‘Above the Law: How Nigeria Football Federation exploits ‘borderline’ status to mismanage funds’, it was exposed that the NFF have hid behind FIFA prohibition of government interferences to divert grants and funds from sponsorship deals to private pockets.
“Our weeks-long investigation showed that the Amaju Pinnick-led Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) exploited this independence to mismanage funds at its disposal, which include allocations from the public treasury,” reported Premium Times.
EFCC have since charged three officials to court as regards this corruption charges.
But former international Harrison Jalla insisted that these officials were mere pawns and their bosses needed to be charged also.
“They just only arraigned some messengers, leaving the approving authorities,” Jalla maintained. “We have protested and demanded that Amaju Pinnick and others be prosecuted.”
The report also touched on how the NFF have circumvented the Treasury Single Account (TSA) made mandatory by the Federal Government to all government agencies.
The NFF have instead warehoused their funds with private company Financial Derivatives and the owner Bismark Rewane argued that the football federation “is not a government body.”
It is a position that sports ministry spokesperson Nneka Ikem disagreed.
“Of course the NFF is a parastatal under the ministry of youth and sports development,” she said.
“How can you say that (they are not a government agency) when their funds come under the ministry in the budget like the NYSC and other parastatals under the ministry?”
The NFF financial and administrative director, Salisu Mohammed, disagreed with Pinnick’s leadership on the management of sponsorship funds.
“I wrote a memo requesting that the funds in the custody of the Consultant be transferred back to the Federation’s (NFF’s) account since such funds are public funds and kept with the federation in trust,” wrote Mohammed in a July 2018 letter to Dalung on several payments taken by Financial Derivatives on behalf of NFF.
In that letter, Mohammed also included payments taken by NFF directly. That included N450 million from Nigeria Breweries and another N150 Million from the Zenith Bank.
That list also included Nike but with no corresponding amount. The column for the amount received was just left with ‘??’
Pinnick shunned repeated calls and text messages to request an interview with Premium Times. But NFF’s spokesperson, Ademola Olajide, when contacted, declined comment on his organisation’s finances.
“My brother, it’s not a topic I have interest in honestly,” he said.