ACC Questions FIFA’s warning

By Abu Bakarr Thaimu Sesay

Embattled SLFA President: Isha Johasen
Embattled SLFA President: Isha Johasen

The Anti- Corruption Commissioner helmsman,Francis Ben Keifala, has in a tweet questioned FIFA’s warning of suspending the country from all it activities.

Mr. Keifala’s comments came in the wake of a threat from FIFA to slam a ban on Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) following Tuesday’s raid on their premises by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). 

FIFA in a letter tothe Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) requested that the Association provides detailed report on the current situation not later than Monday 24th September.Keifala posted hisdismay at such a statement and vowed to uphold the laws of the country above anything else. 

‘’ We have survived the war, beat Ebola, united against storms and rains- our hearts are etched with valour by great forebearers like Bai Bureh, Sengbeh Pieh, Kai Londo, Ella Gulama. We were named Lion Mountain, not Sheepyard! Let our laws be followed though the heavens may fall,’’ he tweeted. 

On 12 September, the Anti- Corruption Commission issued instruction through the Ministry of Sports that both Isha Johansen SLFA President and Secretary General Christopher Kamara should step aside pending investigations into abuse of office and donor and public funds. According to the ACC, a public officer who is charged with corruption shall be suspended, at half pay with effect from the date of the charge.

The Commission maintained that their action was in accordance with the Commission’s Act No. 12 of 2008, which states that public officials indicted with corruption charges must be suspended until acquitted or the proceeding against them discontinued. 

The Minister of Sports, Ibrahim Nylenkeh, said in an interview on a local radio that he did not take the words of FIFA seriously because all what was stated in their letter was totally untrue. 

‘’This government would never interfere in the activities of the SLFA. The indictment was made before this government took office. It seems FIFA did not recognize the Ministry of Sports as a moral guarantor of the Association.

FIFA must realize that Sierra Leone is a sovereign state and must be allowed to take care of its own disputes according to the laws of the land’’ he stated. 

Alusine Bangura, a fan of local football, said he was totally in support of the actions taken by the Anti- Corruption Commission, because according to him, football started dying in the country the very moment Isha Johansen was controversially elected president of SLFA.