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Sierra Leone soccer head barred from entering headquarters

September 19, 2018

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption commission has barred soccer federation head Isha Johansen and secretary general Chris Kamara from entering the federation’s headquarters, following through on an ultimatum to the two to temporarily stand down from their posts while they are on trial for corruption.

Officials from the ACC removed staff from the Sierra Leone Football Association premises and instructed them not to conduct business with Johansen and Kamara.

Johansen is a member of the Confederation of African Football’s executive committee and sits on FIFA’s associations committee. She is one of the few women in leadership roles in international football and a popular figure at the world body.

Her apparent removal could lead to a ban from international soccer for Sierra Leone. FIFA doesn’t allow governments or other authorities to interfere in football matters.

Johansen and Kamara went on trial last year charged with multiple counts of corruption and misappropriation of money related to their work at the soccer federation. They deny wrongdoing and their trial is ongoing.

The ACC gave Johansen and Kamara a week to step aside from their work, quoting a law in Sierra Leone that public or high-profile officials charged with corruption should be suspended while they face trial. The ACC’s ultimatum to Johansen and Kamara to stand down expired on Wednesday.

Johansen was out of the country. Kamara, who was not at the federation building, later handed over his federation computer to ACC officials.

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