The details of a forensic audit report into the Confederation of African Football has opened fresh concerns over financial irregularities in the governance of the game across the continent.
This, after FIFA recently declared that its clean-up mission at CAF was complete. In September, PwC was selected to support the substantial reform process for CAF being overseen by FIFA.
The Associated Press news agency is one of the outlets to have gained access to the report, stating that it details “possible abuse of power” and “potential fraudulent adjustments” in accounting records that are “unreliable and not trustworthy”.
The PwC report assesses the period spanning 2015 to 2019, a time during which long-running CAF President Issa Hayatou was ousted by current incumbent Ahmad Ahmad.
According to AP, the joint CAF/FIFA Reform taskforce has urged due diligence checks on payments from FIFA and CAF to the 54 member associations on the continent.
PwC found $4.6m from 14 payments had “no or insufficient supporting documentation to determine the beneficiary, purpose, and benefit for CAF”. The report said the purpose of the payment, ultimate beneficiary or evidence the cash had been received could not be determined in some cases.
A further $3.6m amounting to 21 payments was “considered unusual or deemed higher risk”, with only five payments of $1.6m in total deemed to have had “sufficient documentation” and been used for the purpose intended.
The PwC report read: “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 Reform Taskforce is also said to have recommended that payments be investigated relating to the now-terminated agreement between CAF and the Lagardère Sports agency. In December, the International Chamber of Commerce rejected Lagardère Sports’ application for interim emergency measures in the agency’s dispute with CAF over the cancellation of their 12-year global media and sponsorship rights contract.
In its report, PwC also flagged up its concern over a large number of cash payments which had “little or no audit trail to verify if the cash has been spent legitimately or not”.
Responding to the reports, CAF said its ExCo will meet this week to “validate” the 2020-21 roadmap, including recommendations made by the CAF/FIFA Reform taskforce.