KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: An audit of the embattled African football confederation has revealed a level of corruption certain to draw comparisons with the notorious FIFAGate investigation which uncovered $200m worth of fraud in the Americas.
Last year, after world federation FIFA sent in secretary-general Fatma Samoura to effectively take over the running of CAF, it also ordered up a full audit from PwC.
According to one insider who has seen the report, documentation concerning contract worth millions of dollars were so incomplete as to raise serious doubts over how the monies were administered and questions about how much was handed out in cash to directors from cross the continent and their senior officials.
The report examines CAF financial affairs between 2015 and 2019 which means the presidencies of both long-serving Issa Hayatou and his successor, Ahmad Ahmad, who is thought to be subject to inquiries by the FIFA ethics commission.
A lack of transparency had been evident over the distribution of $51m handed over in development funds during the years in question. PwC reported that $4.6m from 14 payments had “no or insufficient supporting documentation to determine the beneficiary, purpose, and benefit for CAF.”
PwC had added: “Based upon the procedures performed and documents reviewed, several red flags, potential elements of mismanagement and possible abuse of power were found in key areas of finance and operations of CAF.
“Given the serious nature of certain findings and red flags identified from the preliminary due-diligence, we cannot rule out the possibility of potential irregularities.
“Lack of key financial controls and absence of segregation of duties in day-to-day financial operations was observed during the review.
“Often a single employee would have the authority to, and have executed, conflicting duties such as approving expenditure, receiving of goods and services, and approving payments.”
The report examined payments to members of the CAF exco for family issues, donations, a wedding and a funeral.
The report also dwelt on the controversial decision by Ahmad to fund from CAF accounts $100,000 for himself and 17 colleagues to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
It added: “CAF stated that the cost of travelling of 18 people between their home countries to Egypt was booked as ‘official expense’ towards organizing a meeting at Egypt and the cost of traveling between Egypt and Saudi Arabia was taken by CAF’s president personally.
“However, CAF could not provide any documents to support that an official meeting was organized in Egypt during this time. It is to be noted that the presumed costs of travel between Egypt and Saudi Arabia is in the range of $20,000–$30,000 higher than the actual reimbursement made by CAF’s President.”
Separately Samoura had infuriated members of the CAF executive committee by scrapping the system which saw them all paid large sums in cash on attending meetings.
Also examined was the use of a little-known French company, Tactical Steel, to enable a multi-marketing deal.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino met CAF leaders in Rabat, Morocco, a week ago and outlined an action plan to reorganise African competitions and also restructure the governing body so that staff directors and not exco members would be responsible for commissioning broadcasting and sponsorship deals.
This went down badly and Infantino was reported to have stormed back to Zurich after his meetings.
Musa Bility, former CAF exco member and one-time Liberian FA president, reported himself as “shocked and dismayed, though my fears have now been vindicated.
Ahmad has refused requests to comment. He is scheduled to stand for re-election next year. That is, if he has not been suspended or expelled from the game by then.