Three officials of Nigeria Football Federation will be arraigned and face trial today (Tuesday) 5th March 2019 in a Federal Capital Territory High Court at Maitama, accused of misappropriating $9.5 million and N1.3 million FIFA grants.
It will be recalled that the court had adjourned the case from November 27th 2018 to 5th March 2019 and will now commence trial of the three NFF officials today in Abuja High Court after two adjournments.
The defendants are Christopher Andekin, NFF Director of Administration and Finance, Reagan Zaka, Cashier and Fadanari Mamza, Head, Finance and Account Department.
They were dragged to the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on five counts bordering on criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation.
The prosecutor, Mr Steve Odiase, told the court that the three defendants conspired between January 8 and January 26, 2015, to commit the offences, contrary to Section 97 of Penal Code.
Odiase alleged that Andekin was entrusted with money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
He said that Andekin, however, fraudulently diverted N1.3 million from the NFF domiciliary account with Zenith Bank, an act that is contrary to section 311 of the Penal Code.
He further alleged that Zaka on his part, fraudulently diverted $7.2 million grant from FIFA for development of football in Nigeria while Mamza diverted $2.3 million.
The defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charges, and their counsel, Mr Arinze Egbo applied for their bail.
The Judge, Justice Peter Affen upheld the administrative bail granted to them earlier by the EFCC.
The grant ($9.5m) was 2014 World Cup fund paid by FIFA to NFF for the development of grassroots football across the country but the present NFF Board in 2015 was alleged to have squandered the funds.
In addition, he ordered that the sureties should sign a bond with the registrar of the court, and the defendants should deposit their international passports.