The Sierra Leone sports ministry has accused the country’s FA of being “very inefficient” in match-fixing investigations. The Ministry this month decided to lift bans on the alleged match-fixers with the consent of the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma “to solve the ongoing football impasse”.
In an exclusive interview with footballsierraleone.net, Deputy Sports Minister Al Sankoh Conteh criticised the failure and inefficiency of the Sierra Leone FA boss in photo Isha Johansen administration to complete an investigation into whether 2008 0-0 World Cup qualifier match against South Africa was fixed.
“The reason as to why the Ministry of Sports and National Sports Council lifted the suspension on the match-fixing allegations are based on the following reasons.
“The President of Sierra Leone Football Association spoken at the Sierra Leone House of Parliament that she took the document of affidavits on the match-fixing allegations to the Minister of Sports, before the SLFA election to discredit his opponents and that she said there are no other evidence on the allegation of match-fixing, she referred to the Hon. Minister of Sports of wanting to disgrace the country by calling for an investigation and pursuing such a matter.
“Similarly, it is of common knowledge that the Secretary General of SLFA has said on different media forum that the action to suspend the ten out of the fifteen football administrators was an action single handedly taken by the Ministry of Sports, we have recorded audio tapes of all those statements and the radio stations are repeatedly playing those statements in their sports programs.
“Therefore, the views of the general public are that those statements from the SLFA have already prejudiced the investigation.”
Meanwhile, latest report are suggesting that the World governing body FIFA has intervened by writing to the Sierra Leone president asking for his support to the SLFA boss and that president Koroma has already endorsed the SLFA three-man committee which we understand will be aided by FIFA.
Reacting to the report, Al Sankoh added, “I have asked the Hon. Minister of Sports on the endorsement of the President of an SLFA three-man committee. The president has called for reconciliation among other things in Sierra Leone football.
“The committee set up by the SLFA is illegal and has no authority to investigate match fixings allegations without the approval of the office of the Anthony General. Such a committee by the SLFA is a ploy to derail and disenfranchise legitimate delegates to the SLFA April Congress.”
“The president of Sierra Leone will never endorse an SLFA three-man committee, the Ministry of Sports is not aware of such an endorsement.” said Al Sankoh.
“I can authoritatively tell you that we have not seen any letter of such nature, neither such information has been communicated to us of the president approval of the SLFA three-man committee.
“The SLFA copied a letter to the Ministry of Sports of the three-man committee, the Ministry has told the FA and members nominated to that committee that such a committee have no legitimate authority to investigate any matter of match fixings.
Al Sankoh further frowns at several SLFA decisions, he explained. “After the announcement of the date of the SLFA Congress, the executive committee of the SLFA has taken several unconstitutional actions to imposed Chairman in two regions without the approval and consent of the executive and members of those regions, they have imposed an Exco member using the match fixings allegations as their justification.
“The executive committee is also moving from district to district to unseat executive members who are against the SLFA. The SLFA has also expelled a class A Premier League club, E.E. Lions,” he fumes.
Footballsierraleone.net learned that in September 2014, the Ministry of Sports and National Sports Council set a five-man committee to investigate the 15 who were facing match fixings allegations.
The Chairman of the committee was nominated by the office the Anthony General; the Secretary of the committee was the Acting Director of Sports, the other representatives to the committee, includes the Sierra Leone Police, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and a Civil Society Organization representative.
By Alie Bittar @bittar32 @football_sierra