Nigeria Football Federal president Amajo Pinnick 4 others discharged and acquitted on alleged $8.4m corruption charges
Chieftains of the Nigeria Football Federal 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.
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 sum $8.4m and N4 Billion conflict of interest and non declaration of assets.
On Tuesday November 5th, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu dismissed the entire case with 16 charges and acquitted the Nigeria Football Federal chieftains in consideration of the submission of the defense and the prosecution and in line with the rules and administration of criminal justice.
The clean bill is a confirmation of the position of the Nigeria Football Federal on all swirling allegation 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 glass house or disgruntled individuals simply on a mission.
At the court, 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. Nigeria Football Federal‘s counsel adducted reasons why the charges could not be sustained.
- The SPIP investigation report dated April 30, 2019 files in the honorable court as exhibit 7 in the proof of evidence and its findings as contained in the page 13 to 20 cleared the Nigeria Football Federal officials of all allegations, based on the petition investigated by the panel.
- A review of the certified true copy of the Nigeria Football Federal bank account with the central bank of Nigeria found that there was no transaction of N4 Billion or any amount whatsoever on November 3, 2018 as alleged in the charges filed by SPIP. It was also found that the total inflow into the said Nigeria Football Federal account for the whole of 2018 is far less than N1 Billion, confirming that the alleged N4 Billion never existed anywhere in the first place.
In the circumstances, the defense counsel applied to the court to dismiss the charges and also discharges and acquit the Nigeria Football Federal chieftains, since the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges. The AGF office counsel did not have any objection to this submission by the defense.
The judge then ruled that in view of these facts, she had no option that to discharge and acquit the defendant on all counts, wondering why the case was brought to the court in the first instance.
Defense counsel, barrister Sani Katu, put the issues in perspective.
The matter was adjourned to allow time for investigation as to whether the defendants should be arraigned or not by the office of the attorney general which had taken over the matter.
The office of the attorney general went and investigated the matter and discovered that the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges. On that basis, the office of the AGF applied to withdraw the charges and the consequences is that the defendants should be discharged and acquitted from all 16 charges to which the court agreed.