The Confederation of African Football (CAF), Africa’s football governing body, maybe hit with a new crisis following revelations of intense power abuse and suspicious financial transactions unmasked by auditors.
According to a private forensic review conducted by auditing firm, PwC, “potential fraudulent adjustments” in accounting records that are “unreliable and not trustworthy”.
The 50-page report, which was commissioned last year, covers the administrations of Issa Hayatou, a former president, and Ahmad Ahmad, CAF’s incumbent president.
According to the report, the limited documentation concerning financial transactions before 2015 is a “red-flag” which raises concern about the nature of the spendings.
There was a particular investigation of $10 million of FIFA development funds for Africa which amounted to 40 payments between 2015 and 2018.
PwC found $4.6 million from 14 payments had “no or insufficient supporting documentation to determine the beneficiary, purpose, and benefit for CAF”. The auditors said they could not find the purpose of the payment, the ultimate beneficiary or evidence the cash had been received in some cases.
Another $3.6 million accounting for 21 payments was “considered unusual or deemed higher risk,” the report said. Only five payments of those scrutinized — amounting to $1.6 million — had “sufficient documentation” and were said to have been used for the purpose intended.
The report also raised concerns about family members of executives receiving payments for contracts, as well as the prospect of bribes and tax evasion attempts by several officials. For instance, it noted around the sum of $215,000 spent during a general assembly meeting in Ethiopia in March 2017 without proper accounting been done.
“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,” the PwC auditors said in the report.
The report outlined payments to members of the CAF executive committee from the governing body for gifts, donations and even a funeral.
The report found that CAF appeared to pay around $100,000 for 18 people including its president, Ahmad, and federation heads to travel on an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
It added: “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.”
Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary-General, has just ended a six-month spell co-running the troubled body with Ahmad.
FIFA convinced CAF to accept Samoura in a role of general delegate for Africa last year in an attempt to clean up the confederation.
Ahmad and FIFA have declined to comment on the audit’s findings, according to the AP who obtained a copy of the report over the weekend.