A Freetown high court has acquitted former Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) president Isha Johansen of all corruption charges on Monday.
Also acquitted alongside Johansen was SLFA general secretary Christopher Kamara, triggering jubilation from their supporters at the hearing.
The development opens the door for Johansen’s reinstatement as SLFA boss, and the lifting of the country’s ban from international football in October 2018 due to a ‘third party interference’.
The two officials were slapped with 10 charges of corruption, which was later reduced to four by the government-backed Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).
They were charged with misappropriating US$50,000 given to SLFA by Caf for covering of costs for Magnetic Resonance Imaging Tests on 30 players of the U17 team in 2014, and allegations of match-fixing involving the national team.
In Monday’s ruling, Justice Reginal Finn said that the prosecution had failed to establish their case against the duo and that there was no evidence before him to hold the accused culpable.
With the duo’s acquittal, Fifa is expected to lift its suspension on the country in coming days, having insisted that it would only when Johansen is recognised as SLFA president.
Since the suspension last year, Serra Leone were disqualified from taking part in the qualifying campaign for the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt and Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic qualifiers.