A court in Sierra Leone, yesterday, moved a much-awaited court hearing into corruption allegations against Sierra Leone’s FA president, Isha Johansen. No reason was given for the shift in dates.
FIFA suspended Sierra Leone in October, last year over government interference, the culmination of a row stemming from the decision of Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption commission to sack Johansen and general secretary Christopher Kamara during a probe into corruption and mismanagement in the Sierra Leone Football Association.
Johansen was set aside by the country’s commission pending the outcome of the case against her. Final submissions by both the prosecution and defence were due to have taken place yesterday, along with a date for a final ruling to determine whether Johansen is guilty.
But the hearing was suddenly called off amid confusion over talks of whether the traditional April 27 bank holiday to commemorate Sierra Leone’s Independence Day should have been moved from last Saturday to Monday, because it fell this year on a weekend and whether, as a result, the courts could sit or not.
Johansen and Kamara have long been embroiled in a bitter power struggle, but deny any wrongdoing of misappropriating funds. Johansen claims she is the victim of trumped-up, politically driven charges designed to stop her from carrying out an inquiry into match-fixing and corruption allegedly perpetrated by high-ranking opponents.
“I’m looking forward to the case coming to an end soon because this has been a very painful and destructive era in our football,” said Johansen who pointed out that of 14 original counts against her, eight were thrown out.
“Every single cent was spent on football-related activity. There has been no evidence to show that a single cent has been for my personal benefit.”
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