From James Ojo, Abuja
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has waded into the alleged fraud in the handling of the $130,00 belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federation(IAAF) by arresting the Secretary General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Mr. Amaechi Akawu.
IAAF had mistakingly sent the money to the Nigerian Federation and asked for its return which was not honoured.
Spokesperson of ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, confirmed the arrest of Akawu after a petition from the international body was received and preliminary investigation was carried out.
According to her, Akawu was detained on Tuesday, October 22, following his arrest, and was subsequently released on administrative bail the next day, to enable him submit some vital documents that were requested by investigators handling the case.
“ICPC had received a petition alleging that he had failed to account for $130, 000 mistakenly paid into the account of AFN in 2017 by IAAF.
“IAAF had, in a letter to AFN, in March 2017, volunteered to grant $20, 000 to the federation towards the successful hosting of the CAA Grand Prix Competition in Delta State, popularly known as 2017 Warri Relay Competition.
“However, the international body for athletics, while fulfilling the pledge, mistakenly paid $150, 000 to AFN in May, 2017, a sum which was far in excess of the $20, 000 grant it had earlier pledged.
“IAAF quickly wrote to its Nigerian counterpart two months after the payment, admitting the mistake and promptly requested that the $130, 000 excess be returned forthwith,” she said.
She explained further that AFN was yet to refund the excess fund, as Akawu claimed that the entire $130, 000 was spent on hosting the competition that held in July, 2017.
Investigation by the Commission, she added revealed several transactions on the account, which were originated by the Secretary General moments after the payment of the money.
“ICPC found out that Akawu, acting without AFN board, got several approvals for the release of the money through a series of letters to the then Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung.
“On different occasions, he requested for and got approval for the release of N30.4million, N4.9million and $20, 000 all in the month of July, 2017, as expenses for the competition.
“He also requested for N9.5 million in the same period, but N5 million was approved by the then Permanent Secretary,” she revealed.
The commission added that Akawu was yet to furnish it with the evidence of the expenditures, but told investigators that “he had submitted all the documents relating to how the $130, 000 was spent by AFN to the registry in the office of the minister.”