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Court Strikes Out Fraud Case against Pinnick, Others as FG Withdraws Suit

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A Federal High Court Abuja, Tuesday, struck out the corruption suit instituted against Amaju Pinnick President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and other top officials of the Federation.

This followed the withdrawal of the suit against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

The anti graft bodies had instituted the case separately inherited from the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP).

The suit, which was instituted on the ground of misappropriation of funds in an alleged $8.4m and N4bn fraud, was struck at the resumed hearing Tuesday.

Although Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had in the last sitting on September 27 expressed her displeasure on the absence of the five NFF principal officers from court and insisted that they should have shown up even after being briefed by counsel to the federation, some of the officials were represented in court Tuesday.

“The prosecution withdrew the charges against the defendants. And so we asked that the case be withdrawn. The court invoked section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act to withdraw the charges,” a lawyer representing the NFF official said on Tuesday.

The suit was instituted in the wake of investigations of allegations of fraud bordering on sponsorship money meant for football development in Nigeria from which the EFCC and the ICPC has also filed cases of money laundering against them.

The five officials who faced trial are Pinnick; NFF Secretary, Sunusi Mohammed; the First Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the Second Vice-President, Shehu Dikko; and an Executive member, Yusuf Fresh as the first to fifth respondents respectively.

While the Federal High Court has struck out the ICPC suit against the officials, an FCT High Court, Maitama, will on December 16 hear another suit filed by the EFCC against the NFF officials.

The AGF will on December 16 report on the harmonisation of the cases in another alleged misappropriation of $9.5m FIFA grant.

Justice Affen had earlier fixed October 22 for ruling on the application filed by the EFCC, to join Pinnick and Secretary-General, Dr Mohammed Sanusi.

Earlier, the NFF Director of Administration and Finance, Christopher Andekin; Reagan Zaka, Cashier and Fadanari Mamza, Head, Finance and Account Department were charged on the case before the FCT.

The EFCC charged the defendants with five counts bordering on criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation.

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