Alleged $9.5m FIFA grant fraud: Court dismisses application to join Pinnick, Sanusi



 Justice Peter Affen of an FCT High Court, Maitama, on Thursday dismissed an application by the EFCC to join the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick and Secretary-General, Dr Mohammed Sanusi in the alleged misappropriation of 9.5 million dollars FIFA grant.

Affen in his ruling held that it would amount to abuse of court processes to join the duo after they were acquitted of similar charge at the Federal High Court, Abuja division.

He held that Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of an Abuja branch of the Federal High Court had earlier acquitted Pinnick and Sanusi.

Affen added that there was a similar charge before her (Ojukwu )and in line with the provisions of section 355 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, they were acquitted.

He then, adjourned until April 30 for the trial of the other three.

EFCC dragged three officials of NFF before the court in an alleged 9.5 million dollars FIFA grant misappropriation before applying on April 30 2019 to join both Pinnick and Sanusi in the matter as co-defendants.

Those being tried earlier were Christopher Andekin, NFF Director of Administration and Finance; Reagan Zaka, Cashier and Fadanari Mamza, Head, Finance and Account Department.

The EFCC charged the defendants with five counts bordering on criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation.

The EFCC alleged that they conspired between January 8 and 26, 2015 to commit the offence, contrary to Section 97 of Penal Code.

Andekin was alleged to have been entrusted with money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from world football body, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

He was alleged to have fraudulently diverted 1.3 million dollars from the NFF domiciliary account with Zenith Bank, an act that is contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code.

Zaka, on his part, was said to have fraudulently diverted 7.2 million dollars rom the FIFA grant, while Mamza was alleged of diverting 2. 3 million dollars.

The defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charge

On June 27, 2019 while adopting processes filed in support of the application for joinder the prosecuting counsel, Mr Steve Odiase, urged the court to grant the application.

According to him, the charge filed by the government against the first, second defendants and both Pinnick and Sanusi at the Federal High Court in Abuja was different from the one at the FCT High Court.

On his part, counsel for the defendants, Mr Festus Ukpe, while adopting affidavits opposing the joinder, urged the court to refuse the application because the two charges are the same. (NAN)