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Former Super Eagles Star, Efe Sodje And Brothers Bag Jail Terms In UK For Fraud

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Former Super Eagles Star, Efe Sodje And Brothers Bag Jail Terms In UK For Fraud

Former Super Eagles Star, Efe Sodje And Brothers Bag Jail Terms In UK For Fraud

A former Super Eagles player, Efe Sodje and two of his brothers have been jailed for siphoning tens of thousands of pounds from a charity set up to help poor African children.

Efe, 46, fellow footballer Stephen Sodje, 43, and ex-rugby player Bright Sodje, 52, were condemned by a judge for bringing “shame on their family” as they were convicted of milking their own fundraising campaign, the Sodje Sports Foundation (SSF).

The fraud trial had heard how the Sodjes set up their charity in 2009 to help provide sporting facilities to youngsters in Nigeria.

Ashley Carson, a businessman and director of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, and one of the city’s MPs, Clive Betts, were recruited to give the charity respectability – but when they asked for bank statements and financial reports, they were fobbed off.

Once the pair resigned as trustees and directors in 2013, “the amount of money being transferred to the Sodje family increased dramatically”, prosecutor Julian Christopher QC said.

Cash raised at black tie dinners, auctions, charity football matches and a clay pigeon shoot went into Sodje bank accounts.

In one instance, in 2011, there was a gala dinner at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester for the SSF and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The £150-a-head black-tie event raised almost £11,500, but Mr Christopher said “not a penny” went to the hospital.

Judge Michael Topolski QC told the defendants: “You have brought shame to your family. At least £63,000 can been shown to have been received by the fund.”

He added that the £63,000 did not include cash donations.

“The defendants went out of their way to ensure that proper records were not kept. Any good works done in the past would be forever tainted by their dishonest and disreputable conduct,” the Judge added.

Stephen Sodje, of Bexley, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for receiving £30,000 in charity funds.

Efe Sodje, of Cheadle in Greater Manchester, who was “the face” of the charity, was given 18 months in jail for receiving £7,500 from the SSF and an unknown amount from a clay pigeon shooting event.

Bright Sodje, of Sale in Greater Manchester, was jailed for 21 months for receiving £3,000 from the charity and signing cheques to other family members totalling £18,000.

Efe Sodje was cleared of money laundering at the Old Bailey in January 2018 but Emmanuel Ehikhamen, 53, of south-east London, and Andrew Oruma, 50, of Bexley, south London, were convicted.

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