By Duro Ikhazuagbe
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick, and four other members of the board facing corruption charges have been discharged and acquitted.
The Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ruled that since the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice has written to withdraw the charges filed before the court by the disbanded Special Presidential and Investigation Panel (SPIP), the accused persons had been acquitted of all charges including those by EFCC and ICPC.
Officials of the federation have been under investigation for alleged $8.4million fraud related to sponsorship money meant for the development of football, according to the country’s anti-graft agencies, EFCC and ICPC.
Speaking after the verdict, Counsel to the NFF, Mohammed Katu, said that since both anti-graft agencies had withdrawn their cases, there was nothing to further adjudicate on the matter.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 focussed on funds provided by federal and state government for friendly matches involving the Super Eagles and the misappropriation of about US$2.7 million from the Financial Assistance Programme of football world governing body, FIFA.”
In the court Tuesday were the representative of the Attorney General of the Federation, NFF President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, LMC Boss Shehu Dikko, amongst others