ACC To Appeal -Won 17 Cases, Lost 1

The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Joseph Ben Kaifala has reacted with displeasure to the ruling delivered by High Court Judge, Justice Reginald Fynn, in the State versus Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President Isha Johanssen and Secretary General, Christian Abdul Kamara.

Justice Fynn in his ruling cleared both accused of charges of corruption and misappropriation of public funds. His voice sounding with discontent, Mr. Kaifala said gruffly in an interview with VOA that without prejudice and respect for Justice Fynn, ACC will appeal his ruling, citing that the ruling sets a dangerous precedence in the fight against corruption.

Isha Johanssen and Christian Kamara were charged to court by the ACC for the alleged misappropriation of public funds. Fuming with suppressed rage, Mr. Kaifala stated that in review of Justice Fynn’s verdict, even though he has no issue with the general judgment, his preliminary observation is that implicitly, the judge erred in law, pointing out that under the ACC Act, diverting public fund from its intended purpose is tantamount to misappropriation. As such, ACC will take the matter to a higher tribunal for remedy on the premise that the evidence used to acquit the accused was not substantial, noting that ACC is not satisfied with the Judge’s interpretation of misappropriation.

On the question of Sierra Leone having lost a lot due to the fracas between FIFA and the country over the suspension from office of the accused and FIFA’s decision to ban Sierra Leone from all FIFA competitions, Mr. Kaifala replied that there is always a price for doing the right thing, adding that with the benefit, comes the burden. They at ACC, he said, are doing the right thing. For the first time in the eleven months that he has headed ACC they have lost a case, having won 17 and recovered nearly USD2 million in stolen public monies.

Fighting corruption, he maintained, is important. “FIFA have their laws and the country has its which are supreme to FIFA’s,” he said, adding that he feels proud that the country stood with the ACC to stand up against FIFA after ACC ordered that Isha and Chris Kamara vacate their offices during the course of the trial.