The Nigeria Football Federation has described as “frivolous and totally baseless” the charges filed against its president, Amaju Pinnick, and four other members of the federation by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property led by Mr Okoi Obono-Obla.
They were on Tuesday charged with an alleged misappropriation of $8,400 said to have been paid by FIFA to the NFF.
It was alleged that the money was paid by world football body FIFA to the NFF as Nigeria’s appearance fee in the group state of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
The five defendants were also accused of “moving dishonestly and intentionally the sum of about N4bn” belonging to the NFF without the consent of the federation.
But in statement dated May 7 and signed by Dr Yahaya Kwade, Chairman, NFF Media and Publicity Committee, the NFF said the charges were only aimed at scandalising the leadership of the football body.
The statement read, “We (NFF) wish to state categorically that the charges filed by SPIP are frivolous and totally baseless. They are aimed only at scandalising the NFF and its leadership and nothing more, in order to mislead the unwary and uninformed. This is evident from the great facility with which the news of the charges, which were registered at the court’s registry May 7, 2019, have been widely disseminated by SPIP and its collaborators.
For instance, SPIP alleges that the leadership of the NFF moved N4bn from the NFF on November 3, 2018. The maliciousness and falsity of this charge is established by the fact that the alleged sum is about four times the 2018 NFF Appropriation in the FGN budget as approved by the National Assembly, which in total was N1.14bn, out of which only about N700m was cash-backed for the entire 2018 financial year.”
The federation stated that Pinnick and other top officials were not signatories to the NFF accounts, adding that they had diligently kept their financial records straight through external auditors.
The statement added, “We wish to state that none of the persons in the leadership of NFF or Executive Committee are signatories or in control of NFF accounts as those roles are exclusively reserved and performed by directors and personnel appointed by the FGN from the offices of the Accountant-General of the Federation and Auditor-General of the Federation.”