Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has fixed May 28 for the trial of the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Amaju Pinnick, and four others allegedly involved in the misappropriation of $8,400 and N4 billion belonging to the NFF.
Justice Folashade Giwa fixed the date after the case file was assigned to her by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati.
The Federal government had through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property led by Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, filed the case at the registry of the court against the NFF officials.
The 17-count charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019, said the said amount allegedly misappropriated by the defendants was paid by FIFA to the NFF, as Nigeria’s appearance fees at the group stage of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
Other defendants listed in the charge are the Secretary of the NFF, Sunusi Mohammed; the first Vice-President of NFF, Seyi Akinwumi; the second Vice-President, Shehu Dikko, and an executive member of the federation, Yusuff Fresh.
Meanwhile, counsel to the presidential panel, Dr. Celsius Ukpong, who confirmed the date to our correspondent has expressed difficulty in serving the process on the defendants.
Ukpong had filed the case on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The NFF officials were charged for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, theft, criminal misappropriation in respect of their handling of the $8,400 and N4bn belonging to the NFF.
According to the charge sheet, the said offences were said to be contrary to and punishable under various provisions of the Penal Code (Cap 105) LFN.
The prosecution further accused the defendants of “moving dishonestly and intentionally the sum of about N4bn” belonging to the NFF without the consent of the NFF.
In addition, they were accused of failure and neglect to declare their assets contrary to and punishable under Section 3(3)(a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, 2004.
The prosecution specifically accused Pinnick of appointing a company he had interest in, Financial Derivatives Limited, as a financial consultant to the NFF, contrary to Section 5 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
The SPIRPP said he was liable to be punished under Sections 1(2) and 10(1)(a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, 2004.
Dikko was accused of allowing Mediterranean Sports Limited to be appointed as a marketing agent to NFF in violation of the same provision of the same act.”