The leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) headed by Amaju Pinnick yesterday said it was ready to face the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) investigations, which has allegedly been bandied by some people allegedly working to install Plateau State-born Chris Giwa as the new president of the NFF.
In a statement made available to The Guardian yesterday, the NFF denied any wrong doing in the discharge of its duties, saying all the allegations contained in a petition authored by Mr. James Peters, a football coach, was baseless.
The statement signed by a member of the board, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, said it is on record that the NFF under Pinnick has been the most successful in Nigeria’s recent history in terms of accountability and probity, adding, “Till date, the leadership of the NFF has not been invited by any anti-corruption or indeed, any agency of government to explain the allegations contained in the said petition or even called upon to give an account of its stewardship.”
It said the federation would cooperate fully with any agency investigating its financial activities, adding that the “NFF has entrenched transparency and international best practices as its mantra and has therefore not contravene the laws of the land.”
The statement noted that the Financial Derivatives Ltd (FDC), which was wrongly labelled by James Peters, who does not have any financial or business management training, as the conduit with which the NFF siphoned money, is one of the major and most credible financial services companies in Nigeria with records of high reputations and integrity.
It added that the “FDC was not appointed as NFF Financial Advisers by Amaju Pinnick as alleged by the Petitioner but by the NFF Congress, the supreme legislative body of the NFF, pursuant to the provisions of the NFF statutes, at its 70th yearly General Meeting held in Lagos on November 23rd, 2014. In addition to the FDC, two other companies were also appointed at the 70th AGM on November 23rd 2014 – they are PricewaterHouseCoopers (PWC) as External Auditors and Bain and Co, as Management Consultants.
“These appointments were made on the recommendations of the Executive Committee and with the sole objective to bring in world class professionalism, transparency, integrity and international best practices especially in financial management of the NFF. FDC has been working for the NFF since 2014 with due audited accounts prepared yearly as required by Law, thus one wonders how FDC has suddenly become an issue of petition in 2018.”
On the funds sourced from the private sector, the NFF said, “It must be put on record that funds from sponsors are not NFF revenues to be paid to revenue accounts, but operational funds provided by sponsors for specific purposes such as payments for coaches, competitions, events and other developmental programmes as agreed with the sponsors in each case. The sponsors are fully in control and fully aware of how and when their funds are being applied and for what purpose.”
“In addition to the above process, the NFF leadership ensured that at any time it received funds from sponsors, FIFA or CAF, an information Memo is duly sent to the Hon. Minister of Sports to notify the Government of the receipts of the funds, where the funds are domiciled (TSA or Remittal or FDC) and how it is going to be applied, including payment due to any marketing agency.
Indeed, the Minister has praised and or defended the NFF several times before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for this show of transparency, as it’s the first regime of the NFF to duly notify Government of all its sources of funding, receipts and application. There are several representations to the Government (Ministry of Finance and Accountant-General’s Office) by NFF, duly supported by the Hon. Minister of Sports, and National Assembly to completely exempt the NFF from the TSA.
It is in recognition of this demand, that even the NFF Bill already passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly and awaiting transmittal to the President/Commander-In-Chief for assent, duly made provisions to exempt the NFF from TSA. In any case, NFF still uses the TSA for its Government subventions and funds from donor agencies like FIFA and CAF even though both FIFA and CAF, arising from the 2016 FIFA process review programme have written to demand separate account be opened for their funds in commercial banks so they can audit and track their funds early.”
It also denied the claim by James Peters that Mediterranean Sports Ltd (MSL) belongs to the NFF Vice president, Shehu Dikko, saying “MSL is a sports promotion company founded in 2004 and was even affiliated to NFF in 2005 (10 years before Mallam Dikko became an NFF Exco Member), when it promoted the Abuja Corporate Football League to which NFF (NFA) was a participant.”
According to the statement, the NFF has four marketing partners, including Mediterranean Sports, Padmozi, Hotsports and USP. “The agents are paid agreed 20 per cent fees after providing value added services to the NFF.
“On the issue of paying 40 per cent commission to any agency as alluded in the said petition and put out in the Media release, this is totally untrue and deliberately put out to make the fictitious claims by the Petitioner look real. NFF pays only a maximum of 20 per cent in line with international best practices.
It is on record that, the Ministry of Sports, when it hired an agency to organise the Fund-Raising Dinner for the Super Eagles 2018 World Cup participation, approved 30 per cent fee for the marketing agency and even gave it the right to collect the donated funds directly into its account.
The Ministry of Sports even requested the NFF (Marketing Committee) to assist and guide the agency to ensure they deliver a professional project, which included vetting the MOU between them and Ministry to ensure no conflict with NFF events and or sponsors. The NFF duly complied and the Fund Raising was a success.
Thus, unknown to the petitioner, the issue of payment of fees depends on what is agreed between the parties based on the nature of the project and work to be done.”