Three Nigeria Football Federation officials have been charged with fraud after allegedly diverting $9.5m (N3.4bn) in FIFA grants for personal use, the country’s anti-corruption unit said on Thursday.
Christopher Andekin, Jafaru Fadanari Mamza and Rajan Zaka allegedly committed the crime in 2015, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said in a statement.
“The money was a grant given by the Federation of International Football Association, for the development of football in Nigeria,” it added.
EFCC lawyer Steve Odiase told reporters outside the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja that the case had been adjourned to a further hearing on November 28.
The body’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, told AFP separately that the defendants pleaded not guilty, and were given bail on condition they surrendered their passports and paid a N5m surety.
Andekin is the Director of Administration and Finance at the NFF while Mamza heads the finance and accounts department. Zaka is a cashier.
It is also alleged that Andekin fraudulently diverted N1,353,407.22 from the domiciliary account of the NFF domiciled in one of the new generation banks, without due process.
A Federal Capital Territory High Court had fixed October 18 for the arraignment of Andekin and the two other officials who were accused of perpetrating the fraud.
The trio was supposed to have been arraigned on Monday on five counts of fraud but our correspondent learnt it could not hold because their counsel said he had just been served with the charge sheet and therefore asked for more time to study the charges.
The court case is the latest to hit the embattled NFF, which has been embroiled in a leadership struggle for control that has brought Nigeria to the brink of FIFA sanctions.
Football’s governing body and its equivalent in Africa, CAF, have called for calm and reforms to heal the rifts in the running of the sport in Nigeria.