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Sports News of Friday, 21 February 2020

Source: MyNigeria.com

EFCC to include Pinnick as defendant in $9.5m fraud, court rejects request

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission - EFCC has been denied the permission to include the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, as a defendant in a corruption.

The Abuja High Court, on Thursday, ruled against the approach by the EFCC to include Pinnick, as well as NFF’s Secretary-General, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, in the case involving alleged misappropriation of $9.5m FIFA grant.

Ruling on the EFCC’s application, Justice Peter Affen held that it would amount to an abuse of court processes to join the two men as defendants after they had been discharged by the Federal High Court in Abuja in respect of similar charges.

“There is an overlap of the charge before the Federal High Court and the charge sought to be amended,” Justice Affen ruled.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja had in November 2019 struck out the charges against Pinnick and others after the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation applied for the withdrawal of the charges.

The withdrawn case was instituted in May 2019 by the now-disbanded Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, which alleged that the defendants were involved in the alleged misappropriation of the sums of $8.4m and N4bn belonging to the NFF by the five defendants.

Apart from Pinnick and Sanusi, others named in the withdrawn charges were the NFF’s 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko and an Executive Member, Yusuff Fresh.

Also named as defendants in the charges instituted by the EFCC before Justice Affen of the FCT High Court were NFF’s Director of Administration and Finance, Christopher Andekin; cashier, Reagan Zaka, and Head, Finance and Accounts Department, Fadanari Mamza.

The EFCC had earlier arraigned the three officials of the NFF before the FCT High Court in the alleged $9.5m scam.

However, on March 1, 2019, the anti-graft agency, through its counsel, Steve Odiase, applied to amend the charges to enable it to join both Pinnick and Sanusi as co-defendants in the case.

The defendants, however, objected to the application for joinder, because it was an abuse of court process as they had been made to face similar charges before the Abuja Magistrate’s Court and the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

But Justice Affen upheld the objection on Thursday, as he held that it was an afterthought to seek to join Pinnick and Sanusi in the case as co-defendants, the EFCC had earlier listed them as witnesses.

The judge fixed April 30 for the commencement of trial.

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