ICPC arrests AFN secretary-general over alleged $130k fraud

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The Secretary General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Mr. Amaechi Akawu, has been arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), over allegations of misappropriation of $130, 000 belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

Akawu was detained on Tuesday October 22, 2019 following his arrest and was subsequently released on administrative bail the next day, to enable him to submit some vital documents that were requested by investigators handling the case, according to a statement by UCPC spokesperson, Mrs. Rashidat Okoduwa.

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.

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 the Secretary General 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.