Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 May 2019:
The suspended president of the Sierra Leone Football Association Madam Isha Johansen, along with the Association’s Secretary General – Chris Kamara, have today been acquitted and discharged by the High Court in Freetown, presided by Justice Reginald Fyn.
Both were accused of impropriety and charged with corruption two years ago by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
But in a dramatic end to the case in Freetown today, Justice Fyn ordered that both be acquitted and discharged (Photo).
In November 2017, Isha Johansen and Chris Kamara appeared before Justice Fyn, when the former ACC Czar Ady Macauley requested changes to the charges brought against the pair. They were charged on the following counts:
Count 1 – Misappropriation of donor funds contrary to Section 37 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008. According to the particulars of offence, the two accused persons misappropriated Fifty Thousand United States Dollars, being funds donated to the SLFA by the Confederation of African Football for the purpose of conducting Magnetic Resonance Tests (MRTs) on thirty members of the Sierra Leone Under 17 National Team in Niger.
Count 2 – Conspiracy to commit a corruption offence, contrary to Section 128 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008. According to the particulars of offence, the two accused persons misappropriated the sum of twenty-four million seven hundred and fifty thousand Leones, by issuing an SLFA cheque in the said amount and endorsed in the name of Arne Johansen, purportedly as repayment of a loan given to the SLFA by the said Arne Johansen.
Counts 4 to 10 (against the first accused Isha Johansen) – Abuse of office contrary to Section 42 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008. The particulars of offence state that the first accused on diverse dates disbursed over six thousand US Dollars of SLFA funds to facilitate the travelling of one Mohamed Ola Marah who is not an employee of the Association.
Count 11 – (against the second accused Chris Kamara) – Misappropriation of public funds contrary to Section 36(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008. The particulars of offence state that Kamara misappropriated the sum of Five Million Five Hundred Thousand Leones, purportedly as payment for the use of his personal computer.
After two years and the ACC failing to prove its case, Justice Fyn has today acquitted both accused and granted them discharge.
Responding to the Court’s decision, the Anti-Corruption Commission this afternoon confirmed that the matter is now closed and that both can now go back to running the Sierra Leone Football Association. (Photo below: ACC Chief – Francis Ben Kaifala).
This is the ACC statement:
“The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wishes to inform the public that the High Court of Sierra Leone Holden in Freetown, and presided over by Justice Reginald Sydney Fynn Jr., has on Monday 27th May, 2019 acquitted and discharged Madam Isha Johansen, and Mr. Chris Kamara, President and Secretary General respectively, of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA), on three counts of corruption offences contrary to the Anti-Corruption Act 2008.
“The ACC, which has as its bedrock, adherence to the due process, accepts the judgment of the court while our prosecutors are reviewing our next steps in line with the law.
“The Department of Prosecution will therefore review the judgment and the decision of the court, and a decision will be taken in due course whether or not to appeal the judgment.
“The Commission wishes to reaffirm its position that a public official standing trial has to stand suspended until the end of the trial. Since in this case, the trial has now ended, Madam Johansen and Mr. Kamara will henceforth continue to serve as President and Secretary General respectively of the SLFA going forward without any interference or hindrance from the ACC.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission wishes to reassure the general public of its resolve to fight corruption and pursue justice at all times without fear or favor.”
After two years trying to clear her name and reputation, Isha Johansen has finally achieved justice. Whether she will want to continue leading Sierra Leone’s footbal association remains to be seen, as she may want to utilise her talent in helping to develop Sierra Leone in other ways.
Aminata…highly appreciate your wittiness and good sense of humor. The first line in your second paragraph had me rolling with laughter. Referring to me as ‘HEMOR’ reminded me of who I am, and that was a Classic, perfectly timed, clever, touch of yours. I will always remember. An open invitation to join the APC awaits you whenever you feel convenient to do so….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
Seasons come and go but one thing that will remain forever present in our lives, it seems, is perverse, inexcusable, brazen corruption. It is in the air we breathe – and strangely, inside our veins also, running tirelessly and being pumped furiously to our hearts, just like oxygen and blood.
And who is it among you skeptics, that still doesn’t believe that Judges can also become incomparable magicians overnight? All Justice Fyn had to do was wave his little, pinky finger and Presto, all the charges against Mrs Johansen and Mr Kamara were gone – 11 counts, in an instant. All vanished into thin air.
And strangely, the ACC isn’t surprised at all, but compliant, nodding their pretentious heads in approval.Something smells fishy doesn’t it? Whats going on in Sierra Leone? Everyone is corrupt; all hands are dirty, it seems. Any reasonable answers?
Patience is a virtue, some say. So let us wait and see if government will tell us what happened to the 50,000 dollars and other monies that were (allegedly) stolen and misused by these two people… What a sham this whole incident has been. Question is, who is behind the scenes pulling the strings, maneuvering to get a specific, desired outcome? Is it Fifa or the Bio government? Only time will tell.
And by the way, since she has now been acquitted on all charges, I think it would be better for Mrs Johansen and SaLone, if she takes her hands off Football completely and look for something else to do. Her image, credibility and character have already been tarnished; shattered to pieces like glass. No one will take her words seriously anymore; someone else with an impeccable reputation should replace her – ASAP ! Rising Sun Will Rise Again!
“And by the way, since she has now been acquitted on all charges, I think it would be better for Mrs Johansen and SaLone, if she takes her hands off Football completely and look for something else to do. Her image, credibility and character have already been tarnished; shattered to pieces like glass. No one will take her words seriously anymore; someone else with an impeccable reputation should replace her – ASAP ! Rising Sun Will Rise Again! “-Saidu Conteh
Not so fast hemor Saidu Conteh. It does not mean that she was guilty because she was indicted. We all know what led to her indictment. Paul Kamara, the APC Minister of Sport who manipulated for her to become the SLFA president was unable to manipulate her to dance to his and his government dirty games. Because she proved to be a woman with wit and caprices, it was decided that she had to go to pave way from Brima Mazola Kamara an APC puppet.
She had maintained her innocence from the start of this conspiracy to defame her. Now that political interference has been removed from her case, she has been vindicated. Shame on your ilk for advocating she does what your Rising Sun Party wants her to do since 2017, to pressure her to resign so that an APC stooge can be elected in her place.
God works in a mysterious way. I plead with her to not resign but continue with her job. The only losers in this entire melee are the football loving people of Sierra Leone who have been made to lose out on the 2019 AFCON games because of bad heart people we had as state rulers.
This is how the country needs to be – good justice, not political influence on matters.