Months after Kwesi Nyantakyi, one of African football’s most influential figures was banned from the sport for life for flouting bribery and corruption rules, another top football executive has been caught in a similar scandal.
The president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Ahmad Ahmad, was on Thursday morning picked up by French police at the Berri Hotel in Paris.
The Caf boss was in France to attend the FIFA Congress, in which Gianni Infantino was re-elected for a second term as president after standing unopposed.
According to Jeune Afrique, Ahmad was detained at 8:30 am local time and was to face France’s Central Office for Combating Corruption and Financial and Tax Crimes (OCLCIFF) over some corruption allegations, including an alleged breach of contract with German multinational company Puma.
59-year-old Ahmad, who assumed office in 2017, was reported last month to FIFA’s ethics committee for alleged corruption and sexual harassment by CAF general secretary Amr Fahmy, who was then sacked.
Ahmad was accused, among others, of forcing Caf to buy sportswear through a French company instead of directly from manufacturers and at inflated prices, reports France24.
In a statement on Thursday, world governing body FIFA said it “is unaware of the details surrounding this investigation and is therefore not in a position to make any comment on it specifically.”
“FIFA is asking the French authorities for any information that might be relevant to investigations taking place within its Ethics Committee,” the statement added.
It will be recalled that in April, Caf sacked general secretary Fahmy after the latter accused his superior, Ahmad, of some corruption scandals, an internal document cited by Reuters revealed.
The document, sent by Fahmy to a FIFA investigations committee, accused Ahmad of ordering his secretary-general to pay $20,000 as bribes into accounts of African football association presidents, including those of Tanzania and Cape Verde.
The document also said that Ahmad had cost Caf an extra $830,000 by ordering equipment via a French intermediary company, Tactical Steel.
“Furthermore, it accuses him of harassing four female CAF staff, whom it did not name; violating statutes to increase Moroccan representation within the organisation; and over-spending more than $400,000 of CAF money on cars in Egypt and Madagascar, where a satellite office has been set up for him,” Reuters wrote at the time.
Ahmad, who is a former Malagasy cabinet minister and currently a vice-president of FIFA, was said to have denied the above allegations.
Last June, FIFA was compelled to launch an investigation after Nyantakyi, who was the vice president of Caf and then Ghana Football Association (GFA) president, was filmed taking $65,000 from an undercover journalist.
Nyantakyi was fined 500,000 Swiss francs by FIFA. He also stepped down as president of the GFA after the “cash gift” scandal.