By Jane B. Mansaray.
As former Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President, Madam Isha Johansen and Secretary General, Christopher Kamara yesterday opened their defense in an alleged corruption trial. The Acting Managing Director of MAGS and ex-member of SLFA, Mr. Harold Nat Johnson yesterday on oath, took the witness box in defense of the defendants.
Led in evidence by lead Defense Counsel, Lawyer Africanus Sorie Sesay, the Defense witness, Mr. Nat Johnson told the court that he recognizes and knows the two defendants as Senior Executive members of SLFA.
The witness said he recalled between 2013 and 2015, when he was appointed as Team Manager of the Leone Stars. As Team Manager and head of delegation, he led the Leone Stars to a competition in March in Khatoum, Sudan.
Before the trip to Sudan, the witness added that he received Five Thousand United States Dollars from the then former Vice President, Mr. Brima Mazola Kamara who is presently serving as Acting President of SLFA.
Mr. Johnson further said that twenty-seven of them left for the Freetown International Airport at Lungi where they had an immigration problem with one of the players, Alimamy Sesay whose passport had expired.
Through the help of the second defendant, Mr. Abdul Christopher Kamara, the problem was settled and they left Freetown for Kotoka Airport in Ghana through Kenya Airways.
In Ghana, Mr. Nat Johnson said they were constrained with accommodation as they were abandoned by the Management of Kenya Airways.
He continued that he had course to take money from the above sum to book a hotel nearer to the Airport, so that they could not miss their flight to Sudan.
On the following day, they left Accra with Ethiopia Airlines to Khatoum, and because of the problem of securing funds on time for the match, he said he contacted the second defendant for the remaining funds for the players.
In Khatoum, the witness said he received Twenty Four Thousand Five Hundred United States Dollars from one Honorable Saidu Babar Kamara who arrived in Sudan with two additional players.
During cross examination, the witness confirmed that the funds were sent by the Executive Manager of Leocem, Mr. Johansen, husband of the first defendant.
The matter was adjourned to 22th March, 2019 for the last defense witness to testify.