October 31, 2017 By Regina Pratt
The High Court in Sierra Leone yesterday granted Le500 million bail each to the President of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLAF) and General Secretary after they made their first appearance on corruption allegations.
The bail conditions stipulate that the accused persons should surrender their travelling documents to the court while one surety for each of them should serve as a guarantor in the bail bond.
Isha Johansen and Christopher Abdul Kamara face eleven counts of corruption related offences which were allegedly committed between 2014 and 2015.
They were charged with three counts of misappropriation of donor funds, seven counts of abuse of office and one count of conspiracy to commit corruption offences. The duo have denied all the charges.
According to the particulars of offence, the duo conspired to misappropriate US$50,000 of fund donated to SLAF by the Confederation of Africa Football for covering costs relating to the conduct of Magnetic Resonance Tests on the under 17 national team.
The ACC also alleges that the accused persons misappropriated Le24, 750,000 and Le5, 500 million respectively.
The anti-graft body again claims that the SLFA boss abused her office by conferring advantage on one Mohamed Ola Marah, who was a staff of the Association in the sums of US$210, US$1,480, US$390, US$645, and US$1,192 respectively for travelling expenses on diverse occasions.
Inside the courtroom, the SLFA bosses sat confidently in the dock whispering to his co-accused and smiling as the Court Registrar read the charges to them.
The judge yelled at her to answer to the charges loudly so that everyone present in court can hear her response to the charges clearly.
Johansen alone was charged with eight counts while she was charged together with her scribe on three counts.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) boss, Ade Macauley, who led the prosecution, used his opening statement to seek leave from the court for an amendment to the charges, pursuant to Section 148(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965.
The duo was originally charged with six counts but the ACC boss had added five additional charges to the indictment.
Mr. Macauley told the court that an amendment can be made any time during the trial and that such would cause no injustice to the accused persons.
However, the lead defense lawyer, Africanus Sesay, asked the court to stand down for thirty minutes in order to hold consultation with his clients with regards the five new charges.
As we went to press yesterday, it was not clear whether the accused persons fulfilled the bail condition.
The matter was adjourned to November 1 for the prosecution to open their case.
The prosecutor said they intend to call 13 witnesses.
Meanwhile, Johansen has been suspended from her position as SLFA president until the hearing and determination of the matter. The decision taken by the SLFA executive committee also extends to her General Secretary and co-accused, Christopher Kamara.