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Sports minister orders refund of IAAF money wrongfully paid to Nigeria

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Nigeria’s sports minister Sunday Dare on Wednesday approved the refund of monies wrongfully paid into the account of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

“I have approved the release of funds to refund the IAAF overpayment wrongly credited to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria,” Dare said in a tweet.

“In a few days from now the funds should hit the account of the IAAF baring any interbank delays. With this Nigeria’s reputation is regained.”

In November 2017, the IAAF was meant to pay a $20,000 grant to the AFN but said it overpaid Nigeria with an additional $130,000.

The IAAF in a letter expressed displeasure over the unsuccessful refund of the money after two years.

The IAAF senior manager for governance, Jee Isram, in a letter to Nigeria, “You were informed on 18 March 2018 by our CEO of a payment made by the IAAF to the bank account of your federation on 17 May 2017. A sum of 150,000 US Dollars was transferred by the IAAF of which 130,000 US Dollars were wrongfully credited

“We promptly notified you of this over-payment and followed up several written correspondences as well as a meeting with you in November 2017, requesting that you reverse the bank transfer for the overpaid amount to no avail.

Isram said the Nigerian government informed the IAAF that the Ministry of sports under former minister Solomon Dalung was ready to refund 50 per cent of the money which was not paid.

The IAAF official said his team met with Dalung in Asaba in August 2018 during the African Senior Championships and discussed the return of the funds to the IAAF but the agreement was not honoured.

Dalung, however, said, he “only saw the purported letter on the social media and government communication are not done on social media, I only react and work on letters brought to me in my official capacity.”

He accused the IAAF of playing politics with the supposed channel it used in communicating with the government on the money.

“If IAAF had written a letter and it is purportedly said my office is mentioned in it, they would send me a copy, if they have not sent me a copy then I think they are only just trying to play politics because they know where my office is and if you are raising an issue that affects a person, you must also give him a copy of the letter,” Dalung had said.

The money was still not paid back to the IAAF till May 2019 when Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari dissolved his first-term cabinet under which Dalung served as sports minister and was not reappointed.


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