*Zenith Bank in complicity
From Ayo Balogun
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) under the leadership of Amaju Pinnick may want Nigerians to buy its story that paucity of funds is responsible for its inability to meet its financial obligations to the national teams. The unfolding financial scandal in one of the leagues operating under its supervision show how the NFF turned blind eye or pretended not to know how an agency, the Nigerian Football League Limited/Nigeria Premier League, under its watch squandered this December, 2016 over Two Hundred and Forty Four Million Naira (N244,000,000) within one week.
The Pinnick board which claimed to be broke and awaiting government funding allowed a bunch of ex-footballers under the aegis of the Harrison Jalla’s National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) and a bunch of former impeached members of the board of directors of Nigeria Football League Ltd, called Nigeria Premier League, to jointly falsely claim it is still in office, three clear years after being impeached.
They falsely present themselves to both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Zenith Bank as still having mandate to wholly in one swoop move the entire sum of N244million from Zenith Bank to so called Club Owners bank account and in a flash, within hours, N244million was totally paid out by the Club Owners to all sorts of characters.
Stakeholders and legal practitioners who closely looked at the article and memo of Nigeria Football League Ltd came to the conclusion that Club Owners Association is not mentioned in the article and memo. Therefore, they cannot usurp the functions of the board of Nigeria Football League Ltd as the Barrister Isaac Danladi-led Club Owners did in directly colluding with Pinnicks’ NFF to move the N244million to its account and totally without NFLL /Nigeria Premier League board waste the entire funds.
Concerned football community members are wondering why Pinnick’s board allowed this suspicious criminal profligacy given the Football League is known by all that its corporate head office is under bank take over given the loan Chief Gauis Obaseki board took to purchase the building.
Both Pinnick’s board and Isaac Danladi’s so called Club Owners who are fully in the know preferred to pay all and sundry whatever it deemed right without due authority instead of putting the money into the bank to save the NFLL corporate building as common sense will dictate.
Information reaching the football world confirms Harrison Jalla’s NANF took 20% Commission from the N244million for writing unsolicited petition to EFCC. It will be interesting to know who authorised this 20% payment as NANF petition was not commissioned by NFLL, a company that absolutely has no legal connection whatsoever with NANF.
Further investigation at NFLL revealed that the broadcast owner of the Nigeria Premier League, Total Promotions Limited, recently released a bank draft of N244million to the Nigeria Premier League Limited, the draft was paid into the account of the NFLL. The role of the EFCC in this scandal leaves much to commonsense.
While the board of the NFLL was still considering options on how to put the money to good use, members of the club owners under the leadership of Barrister Isaac Danladi went to the bank with former staff of the NFLL and inspite of the board of the NFLL writing to Zenith Bank not to respect any instruction from any signatory until it hears from the company, the bank strangely acted otherwise moving the entire funds to Club Owners account.
According to the acting Executive Secretary NFLL, Kasali Obanoyen, the Club Owners allegedly acted clearly illegally as Obanoyen affirmed that “we got the information of transaction in the NFLL account and moves by some individuals who are no longer current staff of NFLL to withdraw the money. I, acting on behalf of NFLL, quickly wrote Zenith Bank branch where the account was domiciled in Wuse Zone 3, Abuja, advising no funds must be moved from NFLL account”.
Kasali said that flowing from NFLL letter to Zenith Bank, the accounts officer of the bank, Ms Ene Abah, visited the NFLL corporate head office at 31 Karaye Street, Gariki 11 Abuja, with some top staff of the branch of Zenith Bank and inquired of the individuals that were posing as staff of the NFLL, the executive secretary told them that they were former staff that left since the year, 2012.
Few days after the visit by Zenith Bank Staff, a former signatory B to the NFLL account, Esther Adesuyi, came to the office and asked to be let into the accounts department to take some documents, she was allowed entry under a security watch and she took a letter that mandate her as a signatory B to the account in 2012, which was subsequently seized.
Undeterred, she assisted the Isaac Danladi group under the alleged watchful eye of Chief Rumsom Baribote a former impeached chairman of NFLL to clone an FCT Water Board bill, which was in the name of Mary Okoli to the name of Nigeria Football League Limited which the bank now claimed it used to authenticate and take instructions from Tunji Babalola and Esther Adesuyi to transfer entire funds to Club Owners account.
The NFLL has written letters to Zenith Bank asking the bank for statement of account to which the bank has failed to reply.
Balogun is a Lagos-based legal practitioner.