The Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has been given a two-week deadline to return the sum of $130,000 to the coffers of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) or face sanctions.
The IAAF erroneously transferred the sum of $150,000 to the AFN on May 17, 2017 as grant for the 2017 Warri Relays instead of $20,000.
The AFN, then under the leadership of Secretary General, Akawo Amaechi following the dissolution of the Solomon Ogba-led board, failed to notify the IAAF of the $130,000 overpayment and committed the money to other uses.
The IAAF promptly notified the AFN when it discovered the overpayment but the money has developed wings.
At a stage, the Minister for Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung was involved and he promptly promised to pay back $65,000 (50% of the misapplied amount), leaving so many questions unanswered as there were no indications a probe panel was set up to investigate why the AFN hastily spent an amount they were not expecting from the world governing body for track and field.
With the minister expected to leave office sometimes next week when President Muhammadu Buhari dissolves the Federal Executive Council and the seeming inability of Ibrahim Gusau, the sitting AFN president whose board knew nothing about the money to get the overpaid amount returned, the IAAF, in a letter dated May 12, 2019 have now given the AFN a deadline to refund the money or face severe consequences.
”We understand that the Minister of Sports will be stepping down soon and it is imperative that you arrange for the return of the full amount within two weeks, at the latest. Failure to receive the funds back within that period, we will have no alternative than to apply appropriate sanctions against your federation,” wrote Jee Isram, Senior Manager, Governance, Member & International Relations Department at the IAAF in the letter.
Isram, in the letter, wrote a detailed account of efforts the IAAF have made for almost two years to get the AFN return the $130,000 paid in excess to the Nigerian federation.
”You were informed on 14 March 2018 by our CEO of a payment made by the IAAF to the bank account of your federation on 17 May, 2017. A sum of $150,000 was transferred by the IAAF of which $130,000 were wrongfully credited. We promptly notified you of this overpayment and followed up with several written correspondences as well as a meeting with you in November 2017, requesting that you reverse the bank transfer for the overpaid amount,’ he wrote in the letter and recounted the IAAF’s meeting with Dalung in August 2018 in Asaba, Delta state on the occasion of the African Senior Athletics Championships after he failed to fulfil the promise he made on June 28, 2018 to refund 50% of the money.
Packaged by Lanre Olabisi