A Nigerian court has thrown out an appeal to have Nigerian Football President Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick and the General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi added to a case of financial misappropriation brought before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In his judgment passed on Thursday, Justice Affen declined the amendment sought by the EFCC to include Pinnick and Sanusi to a trial where three members of staff of the NFF (two of whom are no longer with the federation) are under trial with regards to the misappropriation of $8.4million grant from world football governing body, FIFA, which began way back in 2018.
Pinnick will feel vindicated after he claimed that the allegations brought against him were as a result of envy, malice, victimization and vendetta. It is the second time in few months that a court of law would trash allegations of financial misappropriation against the leadership of Nigeria Football.
Prior to Thursday’s judgment, precisely on 26th September 2019, the Federal High Court declared that the trial of the NFF officials was political and that the court had no time for politics.
Also in September 2019, the same case at the FCT High Court was put on hold as 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 sitting of 20th January 2020, the Office of the Attorney General declared that it had no further interest in the case at the FCT High Court, as the one brought before the Federal High Court by the SPIP had been thrown out, and the substance of both cases are similar.
This means that chieftains of Nigeria Football Federation are not on trial for corruption anywhere and in any court in the world.
NFF’s counsel, Festus Okpe, gave a summary of the judgment: “This case has been going on since 2018. Initially the EFCC filed corruption charges against some staff of the NFF, which we challenged. Midway into the trial, they tried to join the leadership of the NFF, namely Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick and Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, but we opposed that because Mr. Pinnick and Dr. Sanusi were by that time standing trial at the Federal High Court on similar charges.
“This morning, the court delivered ruling and refused the amendment, so as we speak, there is no charge pending against both of them. The trial will continue with the three persons initially charged and we hope to in due course prove the innocence of these persons.”