Amaju Pinnick denies embezzling $650,000 meant for Bolivia friendly with Super Eagles

Amaju Pinnick denies embezzling $650,000 meant for Bolivia friendly with Super Eagles

- Amaju Pinnick has come in strong defence of the NFF and its board members

- The 43-year-old denied spending the $650,000 meant for Bolivia friendly in Uyo

- Pinnick boasted that only his administration that has made how they run football public

Amaju Pinnick, Nigeria Football Federation president (NFF), has dismissed allegations of corruption and financial misappropriation leveled against him and his board, Complete Sports reports.

Pinnick and his board were alleged to have the sum of $650,000 pocketed meant for a friendly match against Bolivia in Uyo in 2015, given by the former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio.

The 43-year-old revealed in a radio programme, on Metro FM and Bond FM that they were simply misinformed.

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The NFF boss pointed out that the outbreak of the ebola then prevented the South American nation from traveling to Nigeria, but hinged their refusal to honour the international friendly on security concerns.

According to Pinnick, the NFF later got Uganda as a late replacement and the Ugandans won.

“We were meant to play Bolivia and it was captured. That money was not given to us by FIFA, it was given to us by the Akwa Ibom State government. I went to the Liaison office in Abuja to see Akpabio then the governor of Akwa Ibom State and he said let’s play Bolivia.”

“But because there was Ebola in Nigeria, Bolivia didn’t want to come out to say it was Ebola, they cited security issues because it was the day after the national election that brought in President Buhari in 2015.

“After Bolivia turned down our request, we had about 4 days to work out something, that prompted our call to the Ugandans and they were very happy and they came to Akwa Ibom and they even defeated us there in Akwa Ibom. And we did plus and minus and the balance was given to the Akwa Ibom State government.”

Pinnick also spoke about uninformed incessant attacks on the finances of the NFF, stressing that his tenure was the first on record to publish audited accounts.

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“Federal Government funding for the NFF amounts to only about N700m (government funding for the NFF was N1.3bn in 2016 and N1.1bn in 2017 according to the Ministry of Sports), and that the NFF is on the way to being completely self-sufficient.

“What do we get from the government? And if you look at it, we don’t even want government to give us money if we have the enabling environment to thrive because we believe football can fund itself and fund other associations. In England, for example, the government gives 25m pounds every year for youth and grassroots development.

“We have a budget of about N7bn in a year and if you look at our budget – it’s a public document – it’s less than a billion and the one that is backed by cash (for which the government releases money) is not more than sixty or seventy percent yearly, which means we get about N700m from government.

“And if the Super Eagles play three friendly matches, it consumes the money. Aside from the Eagles, we have the U-13, U-15, U-17, U-20, U-23 national teams, male and female.”

“To organize a friendly game for the Super Eagles, flight tickets alone costs about $200,000 (about N70m) for twenty-six players at between $6,000 to $10,000 per player excluding match bonuses and allowances taken into account.”

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that the Presidency have directed the immediate withdrawal of a press release in circulation, claiming that President Muhammadu Buhari directed the arrest and prosecution of the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick.

According to Senior Special Assistant to the President on (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, the alleged press release is "fake news" .

NAIJ.com (naija.ng) -> Legit.ng We have updated to serve you better.

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Source: Legit.ng News

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