World athletics ruling body, IAAF may have put the machinery in motion to stop Nigerian athletes from participating in this year’s African Games in Morocco, the World Athletics Championships in Doha, as well as the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo following the country’s refusal to return the $134,000, which the IAAF mistakenly paid into AFN account two years ago.
The amount was said to have been paid by IAAF as part of its $15,000 annual grant to member federations for the year 2017. But instead of the $15,000, the IAAF mistakenly paid $150, 000 to the AFN. The IAAF accountants later discovered the error and subsequently asked AFN to refund the excess payment.
Former Secretary-General of AFN, Amaechi Akawo, confused about the amount, allegedly contacted his superiors at the sports ministry then, but soon after, the money ‘developed wings.’
In IAAF’s letter to the AFN on Tuesday May 13, 2019 made available to The Guardian, Jee Isram, Senior Manager, Governance, Member & International Relations Department wrote: “You were informed on March 14, 2018 by our CEO of a payment made by the IAAF to the bank account of your federation on May 17, 2017. A sum of $150,000 was transferred by the IAAF of which $134,000 was wrongly credited.
“We promptly notified you of this overpayment 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.
“On June 28, 2018, you informed us that the ministry of sports was ready to refund 50 percent of that amount and despite several telephone conversations the amount was still not paid.
While we were in Asaba in August 2018 during the African Senior Championships, we met with the minister of sports and the Permanent Secretary. We discussed about the return of the funds to the IAAF and until today we have not heard anything.
“We understand that the minister of sports will be stepping down soon and it is imperative that you arrange for the return of the full amount within two weeks at the latest. Failure to receive the funds back within that period, we will have no alternative than to apply appropriate sanctions against your Federation,” IAAF official said.