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ICPC arrests AFN secretary-general over ‘$130,000 fraud’

ICPC arrests AFN secretary-general over ‘$130,000 fraud’
October 29
10:05 2019
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Amaechi Akawu, secretary-general of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), has been arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The agency arrested Akawu for allegedly misappropriating $130,000 belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

The global body was supposed to send $15,000 to Nigeria but mistakenly sent $150,000.

After several efforts to recover the money, it threatened to sanction the AFN.

On October 23, TheCable had reported how Sunday Dare, minister of youth and sports development, approved the release of $65,000, to pay off the balance of the IAAF money.

This was after Solomon Dalung, former minister of sports, had refunded the sum of $75,000 before he left office in May.

But in a statement on Monday, Rasheedat Okoduwa, spokesperson for the commission, confirmed Akawu’s arrest.

He was subsequently released on administrative bail, to enable him submit some vital documents that were requested by investigators handling the case.

“ICPC had received a petition alleging that he had failed to account for $130, 000 mistakenly paid into the account of AFN in 2017 by IAAF,” the statement read.

“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 grants it had earlier pledged.

“IAAF quickly wrote to its Nigerian counterpart two months after the payment admitting the mistake and promptly requested that the $130, 000 excess be returned forthwith.

“AFN is yet to refund the excess fund with Akawu as the secretary general, claiming that the entire $130, 000 was spent on hosting the competition that held in July, 2017.

“Details available to the Commission have revealed several transactions on the account which were originated by Akawu moments after the payment of the money.

“ICPC found out that Akawu, acting without 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.

“On different occasions, he requested for 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.

“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.”

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