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Former general manager’s petition against Nigeria Cricket Federation president rocks body

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INDICATIONS have emerged that the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) may be embroiled in fresh crisis following a petition on Tuesday by the federation’s former General Manager, Endurance Ofem, accusing the body’s president, Emeka Onyeama, of corrupt practices, among other allegations.

Ofem, in his petition to the NCF board, a copy of which was made available to The Guardian, alleged that Onyeama was running the federation as a private estate. He also accused the president of using his position to corruptly enrich himself.

Alleging that since Onyeama became the NCF president in 2013, he is yet to convene a board meeting and a full council meeting of cricket stake holders to ascertain and report the activities of the federation, Ofem said the only meeting he convened in April 2014 was for board members but without an agenda.

He alleged that at the meeting, ‘‘resolutions were passed to set up committees to allow easy operations and adhere to corporate governance as required by International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body. This was however not done.”

Ofem said he was compelled to write the petition “to also outline the misappropriation of funds by the President as he solely directs the affairs of the federation without recourse to board members, resolutions or financial guidelines.”

Ofem also alleged that “the president rented an apartment with the sum of N3, 300,000 at Efab Estate, Lokogoma, Abuja, where apartments are as low as N2, 000 ,000 for three bedroom bungalow apartments and Boys quarters; and,

“Regular request for funds for press briefings which are not necessary. Worse still, these monies are misappropriated.”

He also accused Onyeama of sacking the federation’s former accountant, identified as Mr. Balogun, and employing his private staff, identified as Mr. Chinedu Nwoko Henry, as the NCF accountant.

“The president included three of his private office staff on the payroll of the NCF and they have been receiving salaries from the Federation since January 2014. They include: Mrs. Aladelokun Oriyomi, his personal office secretary as Secretary to President (N60,000) monthly, Mr. Nnamdi Uzoma, his personal driver as Public Relations Officer (N60,000) monthly, Mr. Chinedu Nwoko accountant in his office as Accountant to NCF (N60,000) monthly. Mr. Chinedu has resigned and the NCF does not have an accountant as stipulated by ICC, who gives us most of the funds for our development programmes.”

“In June 2014, Nigeria was not represented at the International Cricket Council meeting in Australia. The President took the sum of $8,000 and N600,000 to South Africa to obtain Visa to Australia when he had failed to achieve it in Nigeria due to bad planning via late application. Mr. President did not obtain the visa, he came back to Nigeria and refunded only N400, 000 to the federation’s account.”

“The ICC is aware of the lack of corporate governance in Nigeria’s cricket and the resignation of both general managers spelt that. Based on this, ICC was to send an audit team to Nigeria before the Ebola outbreak in the country. Nigeria could be suspended if we fail the ICC audit and this could take us many years back.”

When contacted yesterday, Ofem said he elected to petition the board because he was uncomfortable with the way the federation was going.

“We want the right thing to be done. We want to ensure that those coming behind will still see a game to play. I resigned even though the salary was right because things were not being done properly,” he said.

Reacting to the allegations, NCF President, Emeka Onyeama, dismissed Ofem as a failure, who is looking for ways to mask his shortcomings.

Onyeama described the allegation of corrupt practices against him as “wild allegations,’ saying, “if he has a petition he should take it to the National Sports Commission (NSC). He should know the right channel to follow instead of running to the newspapers to hide his inability to achieve anything when he was given the opportunity.

“Those allegations are totally unfounded. We are progressing. What is happening in cricket today has never happened in the history of the game in Nigeria.

“We have an AGM on Saturday and if he is sure of what he is saying, he should come there to lay it before the board.”

Also speaking on Ofem’s petition, immediate past president of the board, Kwesi Sagoe, said he was not surprised that something like that is happening because the president has not been carrying the other members of the board along.

He said: “Ofem was employed as the general manager of the federation without the knowledge of the board and he resigned shortly after. His predecessor was also engage in the same manner and he also resigned.

“The only reason he is calling for an AGM on Saturday is because the world body, ICC, has withheld the grants to Nigeria because NCF is not been meeting, which is one of the criteria for accessing the fund.”



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