Safa’s current boss and a former Fifa exec fingered for conspiring to secure 2010 World Cup for SA
Safa president Danny Jordaan allegedly turned to the Gupta family to cover up a $10 million (R138 million) hole in the organisation’s books – the result of an illegal payment paid to an official of international football governing body Fifa to secure South Africa the 2010 World Cup.
This extraordinary allegation is contained in an affidavit by the football association’s former chief executive officer (CEO), Leslie Sedibe.
He has laid criminal charges against Jordaan and Fifa’s former secretary-general, Jérôme Valcke, for fraud and corruption, accusing the two of conspiring to authorise a $10 million bribe to Fifa’s then vice-president, Jack Warner, to secure his vote for South Africa to host the 2010 soccer spectacle.
The case was opened at the Mondeor Police Station in Johannesburg just days before Christmas, when Sedibe submitted tranches of documents – including the Safa Close Out Report on the 2010 Fifa World Cup – as evidence to support the corruption charges.
“The evidence I have submitted to assist the police is contained in documents that were handed to me by Safa in the course of our legal matter before the courts,” Sedibe told City Press last week.
“I found proof in there of wrongdoing and it is my duty as a responsible citizen to report what I found to the authorities.”
But Safa’s current chief executive, Russell Paul, hit back, saying Jordaan “denies that allegation” that he approached the Guptas for money.
“But as for the rest of the allegations, government must speak on that,” added Paul.
“Government, through then-minister of sport Fikile Mbalula, issued a directive that it would only be the state that would speak on the matter of the $10 million bribe allegation. As far as we know, that position has not changed, so we will not be responding on the matter.
“I must remind you that Safa and Dr Jordaan were cleared by Fifa for any wrongdoing in the investigation.
“Also, remember that Dr Jordaan just recently stood for a position at Fifa which he lost. To stand for the position, he had to undergo a string of tests with Fifa’s integrity committee which he passed.”
But in his affidavit, Sedibe has asked the police, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority – with the assistance of the FBI – to investigate a number of allegations, including:
- Bribery and corruption allegations against Jordaan, Valcke and Fifa relating to the $10 million payment as a bribe to Warner; and
- Whether the South African government made any payment equal to the sum of $10 million to Safa, or anyone else, to make up the shortfall on the budget for the 2010 Fifa World Cup in the period after the World Cup.
“I respectfully submit that Jordaan, Valcke and Fifa have committed various crimes and should be investigated,” said Sedibe in his affidavit.
“Where necessary, the South African government should enter into mutual legal/judicial assistance programmes by working with the FBI, who have investigated this matter for some time now and have gathered sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case against Jordaan, Valcke and Fifa.”
In his affidavit, Sedibe unpacks the sequence of events, claiming that he had been sent from pillar to post while trying to secure funding to prepare Bafana Bafana ahead of the 2010 World Cup because Safa was broke and in disarray.
“This payment was clearly concealed by Jordaan in his final reporting and Close Out Report. All other payments regarding the funding of the construction of Safa House and the payment of the former coach of the national team, Carlos Alberto Parreira, were disclosed,” said Sedibe
“Jordaan then arranged a meeting with Ajay Gupta. The meeting was held at Mr Gupta’s house in Saxonwold with the former president, Jacob Zuma, in attendance,” he alleged.
“It was on this occasion that I met Mr Gupta for the first time. Jordaan introduced me to Mr Gupta and recommended that I should deal with Mr Gupta as he was a very powerful and influential individual who had the ear of the president.”
Sedibe said in his affidavit that shortly after the Saxonwold meeting, he was instructed by Jordaan to apply to the National Lottery for funding to assist with team preparations.
It appears that running to the Guptas could have been Jordaan’s last resort to paper over the massive scandal that would later see the dismantling of a powerful yet corrupt bloc at Fifa.
Jordaan allegedly made the call to the Guptas after Valcke told Sedibe that he should ask for the funding he needed for team preparation from the South African government “as Fifa had paid $10 million to one Mr Jack Warner on behalf of Safa”.
“[Valcke] steadfastly refused to help,” said Sedibe in his affidavit.
In his affidavit, Sedibe has also accused Fifa of playing a “major role in creating a financial crisis in Safa by refusing to assist Safa”, saying that his continued requests for financial support to prepare the national squad for the global tournament “fell on deaf ears at Fifa”.
“Instead of assisting Safa, and unbeknown to me, Jordaan had, prior to my tenure, instructed Valcke on or about December 10 2007 to make a payment of $10 million to Jack Warner for what was conveniently termed the ‘Diaspora Legacy Programmes’. This was nothing short of a cover-up for the payment of the bribe to Mr Warner.”
The FBI conducted extensive investigations and arrested several Fifa officials during a congress in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2015, after establishing an intricate web of fraud and corruption at the highest level in the world football authority.
It was after these arrests that it emerged the $10 million payment to Warner was on Jordaan’s instruction, contained in a letter addressed to Valcke, for Fifa to pay the millions to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) for the so-called Diaspora Legacy Programme – which Sedibe says never existed – “with specific instructions for these funds to be managed by Warner”.
The $10 million was deducted from the $423 million allocated by Fifa to South Africa’s local organising committee (LOC) on Jordaan’s instruction, despite there being no proof for such an instruction being approved by either Safa or the LOC, Sedibe claims.
“I have perused all the official key decisions taken by the LOC since its inception, and also looked at the annual financial statements of Safa. I was unable to find any proof of any decision taken by either Safa or the LOC authorising the payment of $10 million to Mr Warner, as proposed in Jordaan’s letter to Valcke.
“At no stage during my tenure as CEO of Safa was any declaration ever made to the directors of the LOC and the members of the national executive committee of Safa regarding this payment.
“This payment was clearly concealed by Jordaan in his final reporting and Close Out Report. All other payments regarding the funding of the construction of Safa House and the payment of the former coach of the national team, Carlos Alberto Parreira, were disclosed,” said Sedibe.
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