The man who described himself as the “chief legal officer” of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in the case against officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was not authorised to do so.
Celsus Ukpong, in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019 filed on Tuesday by him on behalf of the attorney-general of the federation, charged five NFF officials before the Abuja division of the federal high court over 17 allegations bordering on corruption, one of which was “failing to declare assets before the Special Presidential Investigative Panel and Recovery (SPIP)”.
However, when TheCable contacted ICPC on Wednesday to confirm if Ukpong was acting on behalf of the anti-graft agency but Rasheedat Okoduwa, the spokesperson, flatly denied.
“Mr Ukpong is not prosecuting NFF on behalf of ICPC. The commission has withdrawn him from the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP).
“The secretary to the government of the federation in a letter dated 14 February 2019 directed the chairman of SPIP to release him immediately,” she said.
Okoi Obono-Obla is the chairman of the SPIP.
On Tuesday, SPIP, acting on behalf of the federal government, alleged that NFF official misappropriated $8.4 million belonging to the federation.
The money was said to have been paid by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to the NFF as appearance fees for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The accused persons are Amaju Pinnick (NFF president), Seyi Akinwunmi, 1st vice president, Shehu Dikko, 2nd vice president, Mohammed Sanusi, general secretary and Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, NFF executive member.
The defendants were also accused of “moving the cash” belonging to the NFF without the consent of the federation.
They have all denied the allegations.