Nigerian court charges NFA boss Pinnick with criminal conspiracy and financial corruption

May 8 – Nigerian FA chief Amaju Pinnick, a strong ally of FIFA president Gianni Infantino and a constant figure of controversy, has been charged along with four others by a federal court on allegations of corruption and suspended, according to local reports.

The five were apparently arraigned for alleged mismanagement of an $8,400 grant from FIFA.

In a 17-count charge filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the money was said to have been paid by FIFA to the Nigerian FA (NFF) as appearance fees during the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Named with Pinnick – a vice-president of the Confederation of African Football –  in the charge, were NFF Secretary Sunusi Mohammed, 1st Vice-President Seyi Akinwumi, 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko and an Executive member, Yusuff Fresh.

The defendants were also accused of “moving dishonestly and intentionally the sum of about N4bn” belonging to the NFF without the consent of the federation.

The prosecution accused them of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, theft and criminal misappropriation.

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.

Four months ago security operatives reportedly stormed the NFF headquarters in Abuja but a move to arrest Pinnick was suspended.

Pinnick has been embroiled in legitimacy issues throughout his first term in office. In August last year Nigeria narrowly avoided being thrown out of international football after agreeing to recognise him as the FIFA-approved head of its federation following a bitter internal row.

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