Pressure builds on Nigeria’s Pinnick as court orders NFF to provide previous charge sheet

By Samindra Kunti

May 2 – A Nigerian court has ordered the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)  to produce a copy of the charge sheet against NFF chairman Amaju Pinnick (pictured) in an alleged FIFA grant scandal. 

NFF lawyer Festus Ukpe informed the court that the same matter was pending at a magistrate court against Pinnick and Muhammed Sanusi, but the judge didn’t accept Ukpe’s argument and demanded for the copy of the charge to avoid abuse of court processes.

Multiple NFF officials have been accused of corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on five counts of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation. The EFCC argues that the NFF has been entrusted with money meant for the development of football in Nigeria by FIFA, but funds were fraudulently diverted from the NFF account.

The EFCC says that the three defendants conspired between January 8 and January 26, 2015 to commit the offences.

In the past Pinnick and his board have also been accused of having embezzled $650,000, meant for a friendly match against Bolivia in Uyo in 2015. That money was donated by the former governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio.

The NFF has been blighted by accusations of corruption for decades, but the Nigerian government has always backed off taking action within the federation over fear of Nigeria being banned by FIFA and a public backlash.

The current government of Muhammadu Buhari won the Nigerian elections on a ticket of anti-corruption and Nigeria’s court system has been more monitoring the dealings of the NFF more stringently.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1601510936labto1601510936ofdlr1601510936owedi1601510936sni@o1601510936fni1601510936