The world expects FIFA to make the PriceWaterCooper audit report on the Confederation of Africa Football public, in line with its promise on zero corruption. Meanwhile, stakeholders in world football are alarmed and already covering their noses on the putrid smell from little glimpses.
The indication is like an orgy in a madhouse of gang rapists. President Ahmad Ahmad apparently literally split the wrist of the continent’s football and tendered it to be sucked to death, suggests Musa Bility, a former member of the CAF Executive Committee.
Sources in Cairo say even the independent auditor, called in by the General Assembly when things began to look South, was horrified with the patterns of red flags and high-risk irregularities, prompting it to recommend further investigations into a plethora of potentially compromised deals.
It is said that their task was made the more difficult by non-provision of accounting history nor accounting data nor discernible criteria for approvals, evaluation of performance and proofs that payments were actually made. It is suspected that traces of transactions for various periods may have been deliberately destroyed or hidden for the ugly stories they tell.
For a team that promised change, Ahmad appears to have just arrived to introduce strange conducts into CAF financial administration with fit-for-purpose companies suspected to have been incorporated as conduits between 2016 and 2019 of his tenure. Three of the companies have one individual as a contact.
One of the companies would immediately enjoy a procurement deal of over $4m with no clear resolution of the Technical Committee on the needs nor approval of the Finance Committee (Ahmad prefers to work without them) nor purchase order nor specifications on equipment to be supplied nor clear contract documents but with all negotiations made by emails with Ahmad in copy.
Another UAE company was credited about $1m in 2018 even when it was not yet incorporated. Perhaps on a second thought, the company returned parts of the money, but CAF proceeded to credit the same company with another a little below $1m, this time to its new incorporation in France. The UAE company was eventually incorporated in 2019.
Back at the CAF Secretariat in Cairo, transactions in large amounts are run in cash with no clarity on purpose nor approval nor receipts to ascertain actual payments. It is the same way with expenditure on the allowances, indemnities, travel expenses of Executive Committee members in which there is no clarity on purpose and method of requisition nor of the standard and process of determining amounts nor designation of approving body nor feedback on receipt.
Particularly worrying is the disorder in the payment of subventions and other interventions of CAF to member associations. Some payments were made to bank accounts outside the countries of the beneficiary national associations and without evidence of receipt by the actual associations. On this, tens of millions of dollars are not reasonably accounted for.
While African football continues to suffer the dilapidation and dearth of facilities, sources at the Cairo Secretariat suggest that CAF may have bankrolled travel expenses for guests to the wedding of the daughter of its First Vice President, Constant Omari, in Congo DRC, as well as covered costs for the funeral of some favoured members’ relations.
Added to that is the irregularity in payments to wives and possibly girlfriends of Executive Committee members at CAF events without clarity on approvable rates and duration of stay.
These and many more incongruence may have tipped CAF into the free fall that precipitated the intervention of FIFA with Fatma Samoura as General Delegate in 2019. Ahmad could not avoid it as the filth stared him in the face.
It is really no surprise, though. President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, had cautioned Ahmad about his reckless drive. His appeal will remain golden:
“President, I am begging you to try and understand that the situation is very grave. This institution, we promised to protect, is greater than any of us and we want it to continue once we are gone. We came to leave a legacy and change African football; we can only achieve that if we respect the rules, and act in consonance with football ethic and the statutes…I am appealing to you from the deepest part of my heart to allow all committees to function…I also enjoin you to graciously and magnanimously allow all departments at CAF to do their job without interference. Moving forward, we also need to engage CAF legal and governance structures and indeed have extensive consultations before major decisions are taken.”
Alas, rather than take heed, Ahmad was irritated by the voice of wisdom and chose to boot him out of the CAF hierarchy.
Interestingly, while CAF’s top five heads have their hands in the tilt with their wives and those of their cohorts listed in the mess, Pinnick and his household steered clear of it all.
Nigeria should be proud of him, notwithstanding the perceptions from the failed false accusations of corruption directed against him by oppositions at home. Thankfully, the courts have discharged and acquitted him of all the charges while some of his traducers are on the run for their own villainy. Kudos also to the Nigerian Presidency for being discerning enough not to have been deceived by the brazen propaganda while it lasted.
Now, with what is being revealed, those who want to see the height of heist perhaps only have to peep into Ahmad’s CAF, that is if FIFA will not be too ashamed to let the world see the report.
Fred Edoreh writes from Lagos. He is a Former Chairman, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Lagos chapter.
Opinion contained in this article is strictly the writer’s and not Aledeh’s.