An FCT High Court, Maitama has fixed December 16 for the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to report on the harmonisation of the cases against some officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in the alleged misappropriation of 9.5 million dollars FIFA grant.
This is as a result of the fact that the cases and petitions against NFF spread across all investigative agencies are similar, from the same petitioners/witnesses and against the same persons. This has necessitated the need for the independent review.
The presiding Judge, Justice Peter Affem, has however, given the parties, including the Office of the AGF, till 16th December, 2019 to decide on what next to be done and come back to inform the court.
Previously, the EFCC had filed a Charge before the court in 2018 against two former and a serving finance department staff of the NFF. Subsequently, the EFCC turned around and applied to the court to add the leadership of the NFF to this charge, as co-defendants.
The NFF opposed this application on many grounds including the fact that there are several other cases that are currently ongoing against these same persons.
Counsel to NFF, Mr. Festus Ukpea, from Festus Keyamo Chambers had argued that “you can’t be charging them before several courts at the same time over practically the same issues. It is better they are in one court so that they will know they are facing one trial”.
He further stated that the office of the AGF agrees with the fact that the cases and petitions should be harmonised and a common front produced to determine the facts, rather than having the same persons facing charges in separate courts over the the same allegations from the same petitioners as this would constititute, clearly, an abuse of court processes and the prosecutorial powers of the state.
The NFF and its leadership has consistently insisted its current travails and allegations of corruption, targeted at only a selected number of the leadership of the NFF, are false and simply a politically motivated witch-hunt driven by its political opponents, who having failed to assume leadership of the Federation through the legitimate means of elections have now resorted to writing and duplicating the same petitions across all investigative agencies embelished with misleading, fabricated claims about outlandish sums of money as having been misappropriated.
The EFCC had dragged three NFF officials before the court in an alleged 9.5 million dollars FIFA grant misappropriation before applying on April 30 to join both Pinnick and Sanusi in the matter as co-defendants.
Those being tried earlier are Christopher Andekin, NFF Director of Administration and Finance; Reagan Zaka, Cashier and Fadanari Mamza, Head, Finance and Account Department.
Andekin was alleged to have fraudulently diverted 1.3 million dollars from the NFF domiciliary account with Zenith Bank. Zaka, on his part, was said to have fraudulently diverted 7.2 million dollars from the FIFA grant, while Mamza was alleged of diverting 2.3million dollars.
The defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charge.