The High Court of Sierra Leone presided over by Justice Reginald Sydney Fynn was yesterday Monday 27th May 2019 thrown into stillness when the judge acquitted and discharged the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President, Isha Johansen and Secretary General, Christopher Kamara on all three counts of corruption charges levied against them by the country’s anti- graft agency.
Their indictments of 11 count charges were first proffered against them by former ACC boss of the President Koroma led APC government, Ady Macauley. The charges were then truncated to three counts by the current ACC boss, Francis Ben Kaifala, for which they had been prosecuted.
The three new charges ranged from conspiracy to commit corruption offence to misappropriation of public funds regarding the utilization of fifty thousand United States dollars ($50,000) received from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Test.
Four officials from the Sierra Leone Football Association, namely Jonathan Leigh, Harold McJohnson, Jebo Sherrington and Mazzola Kamara, the current acting SLFA president testified as prosecution witnesses in the matter.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Fynn said though the accused persons did not utilize the money received from CAF for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Test conducted by CAF and FIFA to identify growth and age limits, that was not tantamount to misappropriation as dictated by the ACC Act of 2008 as amended.
He said the prosecution believed that since the money was not utilized for its intended purpose but on other football administration, amounted to an act of corruption.
But according to the judge, the Audit team (Kobba & Walker Associate) audited report did not support the claims of the prosecution.
He further disclosed that the prosecution witnesses in their testimonies affirmed that the Secretary General took $5,000 loan from Arne Johansen of LEOCEM, which was used as imprest by SLFA officials on their trip to Sudan, which SLFA had to repay.
Justice Fynn said that one of the witnesses, Mazzola Kamara, the current acting SLFA president who was supposed to have produced a minute of the meeting which he presided over that has different views with the one tendered in court in which the executive approved of the loan taken from Arne Johansen, failed to do so, throughout the trial.
Because the burden of proof rested on the prosecuting counsel and since there was no factual evidence (s) to show that the two accused persons conspired to commit a corruption offence, Justice Fynn, therefore acquitted and discharged them of all three count charges. The matter was prosecuted by lawyer C.T Mathesbo, while both accused persons were represented by Africanus Sesay and B. Koroma respectively.