Adamu denies bribery claims

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Samson Adamu, the son of suspended Fifa executive member Amos Adamu, has lashed out at the London Sunday Times and threatened to “embarrass them”. This after the newspaper published allegations that the 26-year-old Nigerian received a $1 million (close to R9 million) offer from members of the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid.

It is alleged that Adamu used a quarter of the money to host the African Football Legends dinner held at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg two days before South Africa drew with Mexico in the 2010 Fifa World Cup opening match.

Adamu says he has proof that the Arabs did not sponsor the gala dinner nor use it as a way to transfer bribe money. He is expected to submit evidence of the “real” sponsor to Fifa chief investigator Michael Garcia next week.

“The truth is going to come out one way or the other and those who first published the story are going to be embarrassed for misleading the world,” a furious Samson told The Star Africa in reaction to the allegations published on the front page of the Sunday Times’ November 18 edition. The story has since made global headlines and moved Fifa to launch an investigation.

The Star Africa has been told that the dinner could have been sponsored by Moise Katumbi, a Congolese politician and business man who owns TP Mazembe, one of the most successful football clubs in the continent. The multimillionaire is also known to be great friends with Samson’s father Amos.

Katumbi, who apparently harbours interests of sitting on both the Caf and Fifa executive and Amos acted as his advisor, could not be reached for comment.

“They got it all wrong and this could be a court matter. This has been damaging to my reputation and it has affected my family,” added Samson whose father was suspended two years ago by Fifa following a Sunday Times expose when he was secretly filmed by journalists, posing as lobbyists, asking for US$800,000 (just over R7million) to influence his vote for the 2018 World Cup.

The Sunday Times story on Samson was published based on the email exchanges between the 26-year-old and the Qataris where they discussed sponsorship of the gala event. The emails were handed over to Garcia three months ago by a group of international investigators and then only recently by the Sunday Times.

The Star Africa is in possession of those email discussions between Samson, Ali Al Thawadi the deputy CEO of the Qatar Bid as well as Samson’s lawyer Daniel Magerle of Switzerland.

The discussions took place four months before kick-off of the 2010 World Cup.

Samson and his lawyer Margele undertook to register a company under Swiss law called Kinetic Sports Association which was to be used for staging the Legends dinner. The Qataris were to transfer $1 million into the account. The dinner was attended by Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya and former Bafana Bafana coach Jomo Sono among other legends. The guests were welcomed by Caf president Issa Hayatou and Safa boss Kirsten Nematandani gave the keynote address.

In addition, the money was to be used for a workshop meant to sharpen the reporting skills of African journalists who had congregated in South Africa for the tournament. The seminar took place from 5-7 May 2010 in Johannesburg. Also in our possession is a copy of a draft of the contractual agreement forwarded to Adamu by Al Thawadi. The contract was to be signed by Al-Thawadi as well as Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani, son of the Emir of Qatar and chairman of the 2022 bid.

Section 5.1 under Sponsorship Fee states: “... in consideration of the grant of the Sponsorship Rights, we agree to pay a fee of $1million to Kinetic Sports Association inclusive of any and all taxes.”

We contacted Adamu on July 29 to explain the email exchanges and whether he had received bribes from members of the Qatar bid. At first he gave us the runaround before sending an email to say “Battery went flat. I will try to call back once I get some juice on it.”

When contacted again, this time in August, Samson said that he didn’t want to discuss something that never happened.

“The dinner was sponsored by someone with an interest in taking African football to the next level,” Samson said then.

He acknowledged, however, that in February 2010, they did discuss the possibility of Qatar sponsoring the dinner in the hope of marketing their 2022 World Cup bid. Fifa announced the host nation in December. The football governing body prohibits bidding nations from entering into business deals with families of members of the executive.

“We didn’t know about the Fifa rules but when they were pointed out to us, we stopped the whole deal,” said Adamu.

A look at the draft contract highlights that the Arabs and Adamu may have been ignorant to the Fifa statutes after-all.

Schedule 1 of the draft contract under The Sponsorship Rights reads: “We have the right to be described as the official sponsor/supporter of the events e.g the Legends of African Football Gala Dinner Congress supported by Qatar 2022 and workshop/seminar supported by Qatar 2022.”

Al-Thawadi also told The Star Africa that they dropped the deal when they realised they would not gain mileage out of it: “We wanted to market our bid by showing that Qatar cares about Africa and football in general but then we realised we were not allowed to enter into deals with families of those close to Fifa. That’s when we dropped the whole thing because it wouldn’t have benefited us,” he said.

Nematandani said he attended the dinner because he didn’t think anything wrong with it.

“As far as I was concerned, it was an event held in honour of African legends.” – Star Africa


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