Alleged $8.4m, N4bn fraud: NFF President Pinnick, others shun court

May 28, 2019
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The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick and four other senior officials of the group were absent at the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday at the first mention of the charge brought against them over their alleged complicity in the misappropriation of $8,400, 000 and N4billon belonging to the football body.

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) had, earlier this month, filed the 17-count charge, marked, FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019 against Pinnick and others, claiming among others that the money formed part of what was paid by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to the NFF as appearance fees in the group stage of the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Named with Pinnick, in the charge, are NFF Secretary, Sunusi Mohammed; the 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko, and an Executive member, Yusuff Fresh.

When the case was called on Tuesday, the defendants were not in court.

Lawyer to SPIP, Celcius Ukpong said the prosecution was unable to effect personal service on the defendants and applied for leave to served through substituted means.

Ukpong said: “We have not been able to serve the defendants with the copies of the charges.

“As a consequence, we have filed an ex parte motion for substituted service. The defendants are evading service. We have been to their offices. They are on what we call administrative bail.

“But have been calling them to come to pick up the copies to their charges and we have been to their offices to serve them, all to no avail.

“We want to serve them through their offices by virtue of section 125 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.”

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted Ukpong’s application for substituted service and adjourned till July 1 this year for arraignment.

In the charge, the defendants are accused of “moving dishonestly and intentionally the sum of about N4bn” belonging to the NFF without the consent of the NFF.

The five defendants are equally accused of failing and neglecting to declare their assets.

Some counts in the charge read:

*That you , Amaju Melvin Pinnick (M), Sunusi Mohammed (M), Seyi Akinwumi ‘M’, Shehu Dikko ‘M’ and Yusuf Ahmed ‘M’ on or about 12th day of December 2018 being public officers, with Nigeria Football Federation, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court committed an offence to wit: refusal to declare your assets without reasonable excuse and upon notice to declare your assets before the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Abuja contrary to and punishable under S. 3 (3)(a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision5)Act 2004 .

*That you , Amaju Melvin Pinnick ‘M’, Sunusi Mohammed ‘M’, Seyi Akinwumi ‘M’, Shehu Dikko ‘M’ and Yusuf Ahmed ‘M’ on or about 12th day of December 2018 being public officers with Nigeria Football Federation Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court committed an offence to wit: neglect to declare your assets without reasonable excuse and upon notice to declare your assets before the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property ,Abuja Contrary to and punishable under S. 3 (3)(a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions)Act 2004.

*That you , Amaju Melvin Pinnick ‘M’, on or about 23th day of November 2014 being the president and public officer with Nigeria Football Federation Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court committed an offence to wit: appoint a company you have an interest , Financial Derivatives Ltd as a financial consultant to the Nigeria Football Federation contrary to and punishable under S. 5 of the code of Conduct Bureau And Tribunal Act and punishable under section 1(2) and 10 (1) (a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions ) Act 2004.

*That you , Shehu Dikko ‘M’, on or about 23rd day of November 2014 being a member of executive committee and public officer with Nigeria Football Federation, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, committed an offence to wit: allow a company you have an interest , Mediterranean Sports Ltd appointed as a marketing agent to the Nigeria Football Federation contrary to and punishable under S. 5 of the Code Of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under sections 1(2) and 10 (1) (a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions ) Act 2004.
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