MANCHESTER, England — The head of African football, Ahmad Ahmad, has been banned from football for five years by International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) following an ethics investigation by world soccer’s governing body.

Ahmad, who is president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), had intended to stand in an election in March in which he would have faced a number of challengers.

FIFA said in a statement the independent Ethics Committee has found Ahmad guilty of offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, and misappropriation of funds.

FIFA had “sanctioned him with a ban from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for five years,” it said.

It also fined him Sƒ200,000 ($200,000). Ahmad declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Former CAF general secretary Amr Fahmy, who died earlier this year from cancer, had been dismissed after he made corruption allegations against Ahmad last year in a document sent to FIFA.

The document, sent on March 31 2019 by Fahmy to a FIFA investigations committee and seen by Reuters, accused Ahmad of ordering his secretary-general to pay $20,000 bribes into accounts of African football association presidents. They included Cape Verde and Tanzania.

The document also accused Ahmad of costing CAF an extra $830,000 by ordering equipment via a French intermediary company called Tactical Steel. The company denied any wrongdoing and said it had won the contract on merit.

Furthermore, it accused him of harassing four female CAF staff, whom it did not name; violating statutes to increase Moroccan representation within the organization; and over-spending more than $400,000 of CAF money on cars in Egypt and Madagascar, where a satellite office has been set up for him.

Senior CAF officials, speaking on condition of anonymity at the time of his dismissal, said Fahmy was fired in reprisal for compiling the document with the allegations against Ahmad. — Reuters