*Where is Women Football’s N26.25million four year fund?
*All the stupid lies told debunked
By Olajide Fashikun
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), before now under Joseph Sepp Blatter yearly gave out $250,000 to member nations as development fund. 15% of such funds goes to Women football development. For four years, this money has been mismanaged by Nigeria.
With Gianni Infantino, the money increased to $1million out of which $150,000 belongs to Women Football Development. From the previous and current disbursements, NFF has not been able to account for same to that section of the account.
In five years, the women football department was to earn yearly $37,500 and in four years, that will amount to $75,000. In 2015, part of which the NFF mismanaged $801,929 the women football department was to earn $15,000.
Effective plans to mismanage funds: Sources in the NFF claim that there has been effective plans to continually mismanage the funds meant for women football. In the secretariat, the Secretary General, Dr Mohammed Sanusi placed his girlfriend in charge of the money. This is an open secret. He even bought her a N30million house in the Gwarinpa area of Abuja.
When the Amaju Pinnick Board realised that the FIFA audit query was coming, they quickly set up what they called independent league boards. Popular broadcaster, Aishat Falode, who had eyed managing the women league by election unsuccessfully was drafted in.
From the report submitted to FIFA, one obvious and troubling discrepancy in the funds she claimed is the share that was to go to Women football development.
A second one the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) claimed was line up the plethora of international friendlies but they also forgot to tell FIFA whether they got any money for the matches in question. It was an all expenditure line with no income.
These are the issues the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and his Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, in the 2015 review on the use of FIFA Development Funds exposed their Nigerian friends as not ‘financially responsible’ and thus, demanded for refund.
In the report of the review prepared by a globally reputed audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) FIFA said it detected that the sum of $801,229 was spent by the NFF without evidence supporting the disbursement.
FIFA sent an audit query to the NFF. They worked so hard to cover the exposed leg of the cadaver that they buried. Secretary General of the NFF, Dr Sanusi Mohammed, reputed not to be able to write a simple memo explored the writing capability of his senior, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme, who is presently his junior at work.
In performing the review, FIFA said it observed “circumstances, which may indicate or lead to misuse of funds (defined as cases where the use of FIFA Development Funds could not be traced to supporting documentation or the use was not aligned with FIFA-prescribed purposes) or other non-compliance with FIFA regulations.”
How FIFA killed a fraudulent NFF: From the documents available to www.gongnews.net the PWC Audit Report was shared with Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary-General; Patricia Waldvogel, FIFA’s Head of Consolidation and Compliance; Kjetil Siem, acting Chief Member Association Officer; Fredric Guillemont, FIFA’s Deputy Head of Development Programmes; Dr. Muhammed Sanusi, General Secretary, NFF; Mr. Emmanuel Ikpeme, Deputy General Secretary, NFF; Christopher Anderkin, NFF’s Deputy Director (Finance and Administration); David Mason, FIFA Senior Relationship Manager; and Richard Thomas, Engagement Leader, PwC.
When the Audit report covered: The report was according to sources conducted from 16th to 18th August, 2015. It was meant to inspect NFF’s adherence to FIFA’s regulations on the use of funds provided for development in the 2015 calendar year. From what NFF submitted, they listed 15% to Women Football Development but we know as fact that this was a lie told from the deepest pit of hell. The last five football seasons involving Women Football has been played without any sponsorship or support.
The report which exposed the Amaju Pinnick Board which was sent to the Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung was dated 5th October, 2016. This gave a blow to the lie told by Pinnick that it was the NFF that shared information with the minister.
“What was sent to your minister dealt principally with reconciliation of funds provided to the NFF as it complies with FIFA regulations,” said our FIFA source.
NFF admits very weak financial module of administration: FIFA noted that all disbursements from FIFA Development Programmes were made in cash to the NFF. The NFF, the report stated, issued cash to its employees in charge of individual FIFA Development Programmes.
“We understand that these employees were then to use the money to pay other parties (i.e., suppliers) in connection with FIFA Development Programmes. Due to this process, it could not be determined if the final recipient actually received these funds.
Fraud in 9 cases totalled $801,929: In reviewing the dedicated account, nine cases totalling $801, 929 were identified where there was no supporting documentation to substantiate the subsequent disbursements (i.e., the disbursements made by the NFF employee, if any),” the report stated.
The global body said it observed opacity in fund usage, as the NFF management was unable to show that there was no fraud in the transactions conducted.
As a result, FIFA demanded that supporting documentation must be provided as proof of fidelity of all payments as it concerns contracts, invoices, proof of performance, delivery notes and confirmation of receipts, none of which the NFF provided nor could provide.
Most of the items already listed could not be adjusted to suit the strict compliance requirements of FIFA. It is this strait that the NFF goons found difficult to cover and got exposed to be financially reckless.
FIFA asked for refund from Nigeria: NFF is financially crippled. Where would FIFA want them to raise the sum spent? This is based on the fact that since the NFF could not provide adequate supporting documentation for the disbursements, she was asked by FIFA to make refund on the sums unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, at another occasion, Pinnick claimed the said monies are in the Treasury Single Account (TSA). Can Mr Minister verify this? If not, can the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) proceed with prosecution for whatever these offences will amount to?
FIFA expressed absolute displeasure with the unrestrained practice of cash payments, which it said should have been greatly minimised by a big organisation like the NFF.
Basketmouth would have done a better defence: NFF’s response to the audit query of FIFA which was signed by its Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme could have been better managed by comedian Basketmouth. It was a very bad case. The report was so celebrated by admissions of errors, alleged oversight and explanations were not well thought out as they did it hurriedly.
For instance, Dr. Ikpeme, in one instance submitted, “as at the time of making the payment, the exchange rate at the parallel market crashed alarmingly. That accounts for the difference in the sum reported, but all supporting documents are attached to the voucher,” he wrote.
On the expenditure on youth football, Ikpeme admitted an error in reporting that the sum of $92,375 was spent, as it was not drawn from the FIFA Development Fund. How this was captured as part of the monies withdrawn from the bank for that purpose remains a mystery.
The NFF Deputy General Secretary then promised that all the necessary attachments would be promptly made available for subsequent audit report/visit.
Ikpeme, however, claimed that all the documents on infrastructure contract and evidence of part-payment were submitted. Curiously missing from documents tendered were invoices, the reason for which he said: “We promise to contact the contractor within two weeks to provide the office with invoices for payment made so far and same will be forwarded to PwC Switzerland.”
Lie on Sunday Dankaro House again: On the nine items identified by the audit review as featuring dodgy disbursements, Ikpeme said the NFF spent $150,000 (N52,500,000) on furnishing its new secretariat at the National Stadium, Abuja. The evidence of the transaction was not provided during the audit, but he claimed it was sent via email and DHL Courier service to PwC and receipt was acknowledged.
The same NFF did not tell FIFA that former Akwa Ibom state governor, Godswill Obot Akpabio, now a Senator, had donated N50m to her in respect of the furnishing of the building. So, question is, where is the money donated by Akpabio for this same item they spent $150,000 in the 2015 FIFA development fund?
Evidence of the use of $100,000 (N35m) for the prosecution of the World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Swaziland was similarly not available on request and had to be sent by email and DHL. The NFF did not tell FIFA how much they got from the Federal Government for the same match.
What an idiotic way to lie? The NFF, during the period under review, claimed it held two computer appreciation training sessions for all staff. This was simply not true. We double checked with staffers and it was not true. Who conducted the training, where, who attended and when?
The first training (with no date mentioned) gulped $29,665.19, while the other (also with no date mentioned), within the same calendar year, cost $20,000. Payment evidence were sent through similar means.
The request for evidence of the sum of $367,304 (N128,556,400 at N350 to the Dollar) spent on the CHAN qualifier between Nigeria and Burkina Faso was also not readily available and had to be sent via email and courier.
No space to explain expenditure items! Another explanation for the yawning gap between money provided by FIFA and disbursements made by NFF, Mr. Ikpeme stated, was due to the Federation’s inability to capture transactions above $5,000. Many of the transactions conducted were above this amount. The inability, he said, was imposed by the inadequacy of space to offer explanations on transactions above $5,000. “However, we have noted this observation, and in future, we will work accordingly,” he wrote.
Dr. Ikpeme also admitted that lodgments made to FIFA dedicated accounts were made in error, promising it will not happen again.
“We have put measures in place to make sure that it is only money from FIFA that would be lodged in the FIFA dedicated accounts. Even with the new Federal Government policy on Treasury Single Account, we have written to the Federal Government through the Accountant-General for a dedicated FIFA account to be opened to avoid mixing up lodgments into FIFA dedicated accounts,” he similarly wrote.
One more lie stupidly told: The sum of $14,342 reported by the NFF auditor, said Ikpeme, was a “perceived typographical error.” He claimed that the figure earlier sent by the NFF is the correct one and is in consonance with the bank statements.
He explained that the NFF has no control over bank charges, as they are automated.
On questions raised about signatories to the FIFA dedicated accounts, Ikpeme said the NFF has two signatories – the General Secretary and Director of Finance – who are shown in signature cards sent by the bank to PwC.
These signatories, he added, are used for every transaction. The PWC report however emphatically noted that administrators in FIFA member countries are adept at concocting documents to conceal misuse of funds and outright fraud in the deployment of such.