First, they brought fame to their families with their participation in sports but all that has evaporated as the conviction and jailing of the Sodje brothers have been made public now by the authorities in the UK,

Efe Sodje Bright Sodje and Stephen Sodje siphoned off more than £60,000 (over N28m) given to the Sodje Sports Foundation (SSF), a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation found.

 They were jailed in September 2017 for 18 months, 21 months, and two years and six months respectively at the Central Criminal Court in relation to the fraud.

 A judge at the same court today (Monday 21 January 2019) lifted reporting restrictions preventing publication of the result of that trial, following the completion of a number of linked legal proceedings.

Sodje brothers

 Efe Sodje played in the Football League between 1995 and 2015 and appeared for Nigeria in the 2000 African Cup of Nations and the 2002 World Cup, while Bright Sodje played professional rugby league and union in the 1980s and 1990s.

 Efe, Bright and Stephen Sodje set up the SSF in 2009 with the stated aim of helping poor children in the Niger delta.

 The three brothers used their connections within professional football and business communities to secure support for their foundation and to give it an appearance of legitimacy.

 Between 2011 and 2014 they defrauded donors of at least £63,000. There is no record of what happened to any of the cash donations made at any of the events, meaning NCA officers were unable to put an exact figure on how much the Sodjes profited.

 NCA officers who investigated the SSF’s activities found donations usually ended up in personal bank accounts of family members.

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 In many cases the Sodjes asked that donations be paid to their personal accounts. At least £34,000 was collected in this way.

 Events over the three years, including charity football matches, raised funds but nothing reached any under-privileged or sick children.  

 NCA deputy director Chris Farrimond said:

 “Bright, Efe and Stephen Sodje promoted themselves as generous, community-minded, figures when they were knowingly defrauding people who thought they were helping deprived children in Nigeria.

 “NCA financial investigators built a detailed picture of the movement of money in and out of the foundation and showed beyond doubt that for most of the foundation’s existence there was no charitable purpose.”



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