In view of the several duplication of the allegations, court cases and petitions against officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) is to have all cases and petitions against the Federation and its officials harmonized for an independent review by office of AGF, to determine the veracity or otherwise of these issues. The office of the AGF is also currently reviewing a petition concerning the fact that the cases and petitions against NFF spread across all investigative agencies are similar, from the same petitioners/witnesses and against the same persons. This has necessitated the need for the independent review.
This formed the kernel of the submission of the counsel from the Office of the AGF at the Federal Capital Territory High Court on Tuesday 22nd, October 2019 when the court resumed hearing on an application for amendment brought by the counsel to the EFCC to have the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and the General Secretary, Dr, Mohammed Sanusi, removed as witnesses from the original charge and joined in the case as defendants before the court. The AGF counsel appeared to brief the court on the position of the office of the AGF.
The presiding Judge, Justice Peter Affem, has however, given the parties, including the Office of the AGF, till 16th December, 2019 to decide on what next to be done and come back to inform the court.
Previously, the EFCC had filed a Charge before the court in 2018 against two former and a serving finance department staff of the NFF. Subsequently, the EFCC turned around and applied to the court to add the leadership of the NFF to this charge, as co-defendants. The NFF opposed this application on many grounds including the fact that there are several other cases that are currently ongoing against these same persons. Counsel to NFF, Mr. Festus Ukpea, from Festus Keyamo Chambers had argued that “you can’t be charging them before several courts at the same time over practically the same issues. It is better they are in one court so that they will know they are facing one trial”.
He further stated that the office of the AGF agrees with the fact that the cases and petitions should be harmonised and a common front produced to determine the facts, rather than having the same persons facing charges in separate courts over the the same allegations from the same petitioners as this would constititute, clearly, an abuse of court processes and the prosecutorial powers of the state.
The NFF and its leadership has consistently insisted its current travails and allegations of corruption, targeted at only a selected number of the leadership of the NFF, are false and simply a politically motivated witch-hunt driven by its political opponents, who having failed to assume leadership of the Federation through the legitimate means of elections have now resorted to writing and duplicating the same petitions across all investigative agencies embelished with misleading, fabricated claims about outlandish sums of money as having been misappropriated.
The office of the AGF is therefore expected to report to the court with the conclusion of its independent review by the next hearing date of the matter.