NFF President Pinnick among those charged with corruption

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Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick and four other top-ranking officials have been charged with corruption, including embezzlement of millions of dollars from world body FIFA, court sources said on Wednesday.

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) brought the charges against Pinnick, NFF vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, general secretary Sanusi Mohammed and committee member Ahmed Yusuf.

The charges range from failure to declare their assets to conflict of interest and alleged embezzlement of $8.4 million paid by world football governing body FIFA to Nigeria for participation in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

They are to appear at the federal high court in the nation’s capital Abuja at a date to be announced later.The football officials were investigated last year by SPIP, which initially granted them administrative bail.

The NFF chiefs took legal action to stop the investigation, and  secured a court injunction to set aside their arrest warrant. The NFF has dismissed the charges.

“We wish to state categorically that the charges filed by SPIP are frivolous and totally baseless,” said a statement by the NFF.

“They are aimed only at scandalising the NFF and its leadership and nothing more.

“Our legal team is fully engaged with this matter in order to defeat this baseless and politically motivated attack on the NFF and its leadership,” it added.

Another set of NFF officials are facing trial for the alleged misappropriation of a $9.5 million FIFA grant to Nigeria.

The case has been adjourned to May 30.