John Ameh, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Wednesday queried the alleged “disappearance” of the $ 150,000 grant given to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria by the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2017.
The lawmakers passed a resolution in Abuja, summoning sports minister Solomon Dalung; top officials of the AFN and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to explain the development.
IAAF reportedly paid the $ 150,000 to the AFN as its grant for 2017 in error, instead of the $ 15,000 it usually gives the Nigerian body as annual grant.
A member from Bayelsa State, Diri Douye, who brought the matter to the attention of the House, informed members that immediately IAAF discovered the error, they asked the AFN to return the excess payment.
Douye said, “The money now seems to have disappeared into thin air.
“Some board members of the AFN are calling for an emergency congress to look into the scandal and have faulted the Sports Minister Mr. Solomon Dalung, who was said to have set up a committee to probe the circumstances surrounding the missing money.”
Douye added that there were fears that the money might have been paid into the private pockets of some AFN officials “sometime last year when the sports minister had dissolved the boards of various sports federations.”
The House expressed concern that in spite of the Treasury Single Account policy, funds meant for public agencies could be received and spent without trace.
The motion noted further, “The House is concerned that not only is the image of the country being seriously tarnished by the seeming failure of the AFN to refund the excess payment at the instance of the IAAF, but also Nigeria runs the risk of being banned from international competitions.”
The session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, called for the refund of the money to the IAAF to prevent Nigeria from suffering any penalties by the international sports body.
The motion was passed in a unanimous voice vote and referred to the committee on sports to conduct a “forensic audit on the alleged looting of the excess grant payment and determine measures being put in place to prevent further infraction.”
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