Chieftains of the Nigeria Football Federation, including its President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, have been discharged and acquitted on all counts of alleged corruption charges in a case brought by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel, SPIP.
The panel, headed by Okon Obono-Obla who is now on the run to avoid prosecution by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC had filed a 16 –count charge against Pinnick, Seyi Akinwunmi (1st Vice President), Shehu Dikko (2nd Vice President), Mohammed Sanusi (General Secretary) and Ahmed Yusuf (Executive Committee member) with wild claims of alleged corruption against the men, and even subjected them to extensive media trial at home and abroad. Among the charges were misappropriation of the sums of $8.4million and N4billion, conflict of interest and non-declaration of assets.
At a point, now –fleeing Obono-Obla wrote to the Confederation of African Football, CAF twisting all the facts with regards to Nigeria’s participation in the CAF Congress of 2015.
On Tuesday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu dismissed the entire case with all 16 charges, and acquitted the NFF chieftains in consideration of the submission of the defence and the prosecution and in line with the rules of administration of criminal justice.
The clean bill is a confirmation of the position of the NFF on all swirling allegations of corruption against its officials. Nigeria’s supreme football –governing body has always insisted that its leaders were being victimized by persons who lost elections through the ballot and were seeking other means to upturn things at the Glass House, or disgruntled individuals simply on a mission of vendetta.
Only last month, a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to remove the names of Pinnick and Sanusi from the witnesses’ category and add them to the list of accused persons in a case at the FCT High Court over the same $8.4million FIFA Grant was put on hold after the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation submitted that it was taking over the case with a view to ascertaining its validity, seeing that same persons were being charged spuriously in different courts and/or investigated by several agencies over the same allegations hewed out of petitions by the same individuals.
At the court on Tuesday, a counsel from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, which had taken over the case, said it could not proceed with the matter as the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges.