A board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Rosa Collins believes that the best deterrent for corruption in sports is dismissing and jailing anybody indicted in the 'missing' IAAF $150,000 grant saga. She said that would be good punishment to the culprits for causing anguish to the nation's athletes, who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the funds.
For the past two weeks, there has been buckpassing by some officials of the AFN, who accused sports ministry officials of conniving with two members of the federation to share the money, which IAAF erroneously sent to Nigeria in 2017.
The House of Representatives had on Wednesday passed a resolution in Abuja, summoning Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, top officials of the AFN and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to explain the 'disappearance' of the money.
There are insinuations in some quarters that a top AFN official allegedly used his private account to collect the money from IAAF.
Collins, a former triple jump champion, is emphatic on the punishment to be meted out to those in the fraudulent act saying: "Those found guilty must be dismissed and sent to jail for causing so mush anguish to athletes who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the funds."
Speaking with The Guardian in Lagos recently, Collins had accused the sports ministry of a deliberate attempt to cover up the $150.000 mistakenly remitted to the AFN by the IAAF.
"The sum of $15.000 dollars was supposed to be IAAF's annual grant to AFN, but the world's Athletics body over paid AFN by $135.000. In the absence of the AFN board for over six months, the sports ministry didn't enquire from AFN scribe how the funds in federation's account got there. The sports ministry waited until the media broke the news. Is this not a cover up?
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The Abuja-based business woman also called on the IAAF to institute a panel of inquiry to unravel the mystery behind the missing money, insisting that the sports ministry has no right to query its staff since it knew long enough about the money and the letter IAAF wrote the federation alerting it in June 2017 concerning the payment error.
Collins also traced the problems militating in the AFN to what she described as inept leadership in the federation. "If AFN has a good leadership in Shehu Gusau, this problems won't arise in the first place. These things happen when people are imposed on the federation. Gusau was never elected as AFN president and it is hurting everyone. The image of the country is at stake over this avoidable scandal."