At last, Gusau breaks silence on IAAF’s ‘missing’ $130,000
• Wants EFCC, ICPC, Police to investigate AFN, Sports Ministry
Determined to clear his name in the controversy surrounding the ‘missing’ $135,000 erroneously paid into the Athletics Federation of Nigeria’s (AFN) account by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), suspended president of the federation, Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau is urging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC), Nigeria Police and other national investigative agencies to probe both the AFN and the Sports Ministry to unravel the saga.
Gusau is worried that his reputation is being battered for a thing he knows nothing about.
Last Tuesday, some AFN board members suspended Gusau and set up a five-man panel to probe his alleged involvement in the IAAF missing money. The panel will begin sitting in Abuja tomorrow.
But Gusau feels he is being victimized. “I’ve tried never to join issues with anybody, but in the last three days, my image has been battered for a thing that I don’t know anything about,” Gusau said.
According to him, the AFN board was inaugurated in late July 2017, and his first contact with IAAF on assumption of office as AFN president was in London when the country participated in the World Championships.
He said he was shocked when IAAF officials asked him to refund the sum of $130,000. “This sounded very strange and new to me. The IAAF officials told me office is continuous. There, I was told they (IAAF) sent money for Warri Relay. Yes, IAAF normally sends $20,000 to assist its affiliate federations and they said an excess of $130,000 was remitted into AFN account, and that I should refund it.
“Incidentally, there was a meeting and the former Sports Minister was at the venue. I arranged a meeting between the Minister (Solomon Dalung) and IAAF officials. And there, the Minister concurred and said he would arrange to send the money. The IAAF followed with a letter, which copy is available. And I did a covering memo and sent to the Minister.
“For almost a year, nothing was done, and there was the Asaba Meet in 2018, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sports and the then Minister were there and I arranged another meeting, where the Minister (Dalung) directed the Permanent Secretary to take the account number of the IAAF promising that they would pay the money but in bits owing to cash constraints the ministry was facing,” Gusau said.
He added: “IAAF kept writing letters reminding the AFN about the money. The last was in Yokohama, Japan, when we went for the World Relays. They said they were monitoring the Nigerian situation, and were sure there would soon be a change of government and urged us to quickly settle it (the money).