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African football chiefs say corruption allegations ‘unfounded’

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African football chiefs hit back Friday at reported allegations by accounting firm PwC of the widespread misuse of tens of millions of dollars.

The executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said the allegations, made as a result of an independent audit of the body, were “unfounded”.

The auditors found widespread problems, including the awarding of millions of dollars of development funds sent to CAF by FIFA, according to a report in the New York Times.

The report also cited payments for gifts and mentioned at least one example where funds were used to pay for a funeral.

After a meeting in Doha, CAF said in a statement the funerals were “acts of solidarity in support of families of individuals who have served African football” and cited assistance given to the family of an official who was killed in a plane crash.

Turning to the development funds, CAF said the use of those monies was “strictly governed by procedures set by FIFA”.

“As a reminder, the periods — 2015, 2016 and 2017 — were the subject of a FIFA audit by international firms including PwC,” the statement added.

CAF said a representative of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had been invited to attend the meeting but was not present.

The New York Times reported that of $51 million paid by FIFA to the African governing body from 2015 to 2018, about $24 million had been disbursed by CAF officials.

In reviewing 40 payments totalling $10 million, auditors found that just five of the payments, worth a total of $1.6 million, were backed up by sufficient documentation to confirm what the money would be spent on.

The rest lacked information, meaning it was often impossible to identify who had received the funds.

Last year, CAF President Ahmad Ahmad appealed to FIFA for help in supervising the organisation and top FIFA official Fatma Samoura was given a six-month mission aimed at accelerating reforms within the African governing body.

This month, an independent working group has made 100 recommendations for the reform of CAF. The document, seen by AFP, includes recommendations that all payments made by CAF’s member federations be paid into clearly identified bank accounts.


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