Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 May 2019:
There has been another twist to the Isha Johansen corruption case this morning, after the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Czar announced that the ACC is seriously considering an appeal against yesterday’s decision by the High Court to acquit and discharge Sierra Leone’s FIFA president – Isha Johansen, along with the association’s secretary general – Chris Kamara, following a two-year court trial for alleged misappropriation of public funds.
The ACC Czar – Francis Ben Kaifala, told the Sierra Leone Telegraph this morning: “We are reviewing the decision but our preliminary position is that we will appeal on the law.”
What this means is that the ACC will not be putting forward any new evidence, but instead may proceed with new arguments about points of law it feels the Judge may have overlooked or misinterpreted.
Key to this trial is the definition of what constitutes ‘misappropriation of funds’, and the question as to where and when ‘misappropriation of funds’ applies.
Is the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) a public institution that was in receipt of state funds at the time of the alleged corruption allegations?
Some legal experts argue that the SLFA was largely funded by the World’s Football Association (FIFA), and that it’s was FIFA’s funding that was allegedly claimed to have been misused or misappropriated. And as such they argue, Sierra Leone’s ACC does not have the legal powers to investigate FIFA’s funding in Sierra Leone.
Evidence put forward by World FIFA indicates that no crime had been committed by the executives of Sierra Leone’s FIFA, as FIFA calls for the government of Sierra Leone to stop meddling in the affairs of the country’s football association.
These are the points of law that the ACC will need to argue in court to convince a judge that there has been an error of judgement in acquitting and discharging Johansen and Kamara yesterday by the High Court.
In the meantime, Sierra Leone remains suspended from world football by FIFA. In October last year, officials of FIFA, including Secretary General – Fatma Samoura, met with Johansen and the Sierra Leone government to find an amicable way out of the crisis.
At the end of those talks, FIFA said: “We will wait for the completion of the trial before further measures can be considered, including the lifting of the suspension, if deemed appropriate.”
Today it seems, this case is far from over, as the ACC is heading to the Appeal Court.
This morning ACC boss Francis Ben Kaifala said that he is as determined as ever in his resolve to see that the country’s corruption laws are respected.
This is what he said on VOA radio: