Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nigeria: Athletics Federation of Nigeria Secretary-General arrested for Alleged $130,000 Fraud

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The ICPC has arrested the Secretary-General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Amaechi Akawu, for allegedly misappropriating $130,000.

The ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, in a statement on Monday, said the cash belonged to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

The agency said Mr Akawu’s arrest followed a petition it received alleging that he had failed to account for $130, 000 mistakenly paid into the account of AFN in 2017 by IAAF.

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The ICPC also said its findings revealed that the accused, acted without the AFN Board, got several approvals for the release of the money through a series of letters to the then Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung.

It added that several transactions on the account originated from the Secretary-General moments after the payment of the money.

“On different occasions, he requested and got approval for the release of N30.4 million, N4.9 million and $20, 000, all in the month of July 2017 as expenses for the competition. He also requested for N9.5 million in the same period, but N5 million was approved by the then Permanent Secretary.

“Mr Akawu is yet to furnish the commission with the evidence of the expenditures, telling investigators that he had submitted all the documents relating to how the $130, 000 was spent by AFN to the registry in the office of the Minister.”

Mr Akawu, who was detained on October, 22, following his arrest, was subsequently released on administrative bail the next day, to enable him submit some vital documents that were requested by investigators handling the case.

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Background

IAAF had in a letter to AFN in March 2017, volunteered to grant $20,000 to the federation towards the successful hosting of the CAA Grand Prix Competition in Delta State, popularly known as 2017 Warri Relay Competition.

However, the international body for athletics while fulfilling the pledge, mistakenly paid $150,000 to AFN in May 2017, a sum which was far in excess of the $20,000 grant it had earlier pledged.

IAAF quickly wrote to its Nigerian counterpart two months after the payment admitting the mistake and requesting that the excess be returned.

AFN is yet to refund the excess funds.

Mr Akawu claims the entire $130,000 was spent on hosting the competition that held in July 2017.

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