Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick can become the next President of the Confederation of African Football if the current CAF boss Ahmad Ahmad is found culpable for corruption after the police in France arrested the Madagasy on Thursday.
Officers from France’s Central Office for Combating Corruption and Financial and Tax Crimes swooped on Berri Hotel in Paris where Ahmad was staying Thursday morning to detain him regarding an investigation that is reported to be linked to a contract broken by the CAF chief with Puma in December 2017 and placed with French company Tactical Steel.
Pinnick is CAF’s 1st vice President, a position he attained after the erstwhile occupier, Kwesi Nyantakyi from Ghana, was removed following allegation of corruption.
Pinnick, Nyantakyi and their estranged friend and Musa Bility were the key figures in the movement that ousted erstwhile CAF boss Issa Hayatou and installed Ahmad.
It is instructive to note that the President of the Nigeria Football Federation himself is facing corruption charges at home.
The Puma contract that got Ahmad in trouble, according to insidefootball.com, was worth €312,000 but dropped in favour of Tactical Steel buying the same equipment for $1,195,603.
Tactical Steel is run by Romuald Seilier, a close friend of Loïc Gerand, the personal attaché of Ahmad.
The deal with Tactical Steel did not end there. To date it is estimated the French company has allegedly invoiced CAF almost $3 million with a number of payments requested by Seilier to be routed through a Turkish company called Serin Hidrafat Ltd and its account with ING bank.
The French authorities are believed to be investigating non-payment of taxes and criminal conspiracy to avoid tax duties. Tactical Steel is registered as a company in France and based in La Seyne-sur-Mer
No official charges have been made against Ahmad but it seems likely that he will be detained in France while the investigation is taking place, as there would be no guarantee of his return if he left the country. Most probably he will have to surrender his passport and remain under some form of house arrest.
FIFA said in a statement yesterday that it was yet to get a full detail of the allegation against Ahmad but it frowned at any form of corruption.
Ahmad is probably the strongest confederation president supporter of FIFA boss Gianni Infantino who relies on the African block for his power base but the world governing body insisted in the statement that it would not protect anybody.
It read: “FIFA has taken note of the alleged events concerning Mr Ahmad Ahmad, who is being questioned by the French authorities in relation to allegations related to his mandate while President of CAF.
“FIFA is unaware of the details surrounding this investigation and is therefore not in a position to make any comment on it specifically.
“FIFA is asking the French authorities for any information that might be relevant to investigations taking place within its Ethics Committee.
“As a matter of due process, everyone has the right to the presumption of innocence, but as the FIFA President reiterated yesterday, FIFA is fully committed to eradicating all forms of wrongdoing at any level in football.
“Anyone found to have committed illicit or illegal acts has no place in football.