In a leaked letter on social media, the Ethics Board of the Sierra Leone Football Association through its Chairman Drucil Taylor stated that it has suspended the General Secretary of the Association (Christopher Kamara) for failure to disburse funds meant for pending investigations into various complaints before it. The Ethics Board described the failure of Chris to disburse the said funds as instructing and preventing the Board to carry out its activities.
The said letter was written to the General Secretary Chris Kamara on the 12th February 2022, where the Board also request a response within 72 hours, and also being set aside for a period of 14 days or so. This leaked letter sparked several social media reactions from various quarters of the public. But what are the facts in this matter that the public should know?
From my independent investigations, my sources revealed that the Ethics Board made a request for logistics and financial support to investigate 3 pending matters referred to it, namely:
Match fixing allegations in the last Division One playoffs in Kono involving a goalkeeper of Sierra Leone Police FC Ibrahim Bangura (aka Stop Pain) and Alimamy Tholley – Assistant Coach of Estate Contractors ,
Sexual harassment allegations against the Head Coach of Sierra Queens, and
Match fixing allegations involving Leone Stars players (Christian Caulker and co).
The Board therefore requested logistical and financial support from the FA to investigate and adjudicate these outstanding matters.
On the logistical support – the Board requested to be holding hearings in hotels for the said matters, the SLFA Executive Committee (Exco) through the General Secretary told the Ethics Board it cannot afford to pay for hotels as meeting venues for the investigations. The General Secretary therefore delegated the responsibility to the Corporate Affairs Manager of the FA Mohamed Benson Bawoh, to assist the Board with a suitable space at the SLFA Secretariat as a meeting point. The Board rejected the office space given to them on the basis that their job could be disrupted by the movement of staff and other visitors.
A meeting between the Board, the President and the General Secretary of the FA was held on the 29th October 2021 where the Board was asked to prepare a budget for the activities.
The Board sent a total budget of Le 395 million for the 3 matters to the General Secretary. The Exco informed the General Secretary that the FA is not in a financial position to honor such a colossal amount, as it’s currently struggling to raise funds for the league and other upcoming footballing activities.
According to my sources, the Exco’s decision was communicated to the Board by the General Secretary. Fast forward, the Board erroneously believed that the General Secretary was deliberately refusing to disburse the said funds (395 Million Leones), and deemed it fit to suspend him from his office immediately.
The Board relies on the Exco to enforce their decision to suspend the General Secretary from office.
In as much as the Ethics Board has partial powers to suspend any member of the FA, the Executive Committee cannot enforce their decision on Chris because the non-disbursement of funds was not his fault, and there has never been a query against him or any wrongdoing before on the said issue. The responsibility to relieve the General Secretary or any personnel of the FA, lies entirely on the Exco (Article 35 of the SLFA Constitution).
Decision making and approvals lies entirely on the hands of the Executive Committee of the FA (Article 36.2 of the SLFA Constitution). The General Secretary only implements decisions and directives of the Exco.
From all indications, it’s clearly seen that Chris Kamara has not violated any rule or code in his capacity as General Secretary. The Board was wrong to blame Chris, who was constantly communicating Exco’s decisions to them.
The public should also know that the General Secretary is also a member of the Ethics Board, as a Secretary. Also, none of the he has no connections in any of the pending matters. So he cannot be seen to have allegedly stifling their activities of the Board.
The General Secretary has always done due diligence in his dispensation. He has also responded to the Ethics Board’s letter within the 72 hours altimatum.
It was in their place to re-engage the Executive Committee to get the support they needed, by either reducing the budget or some other ways.
Top officials of the FA have opined that in as much the matters before the Ethics Board are crucial, but the FA cannot deprive the running of the game by allocating a huge sum of money (395 Million Leones) to investigate the said matters. That was why, the FA in its wisdom, has provided the Board with office space to meet and hold their hearings. Should they need additional security or logistics, the FA would have provided same to ensure their smooth operation. But moving those meetings to hotels will be a huge financial burden to the SLFA.