Caught on Tape: Liberia Football Association Officials Discuss How They Siphon Football Fund
Monrovia – Three senior staffers at the Liberia Football Association (LFA) have revealed that the financial system at the football house is spoilt due to several corrupt practices.
Report by Christopher C. Walker, [email protected]
In a leaked recording allegedly involving LFA Treasurer Jallah Corvah, Account Officer Joseph Sherriff and James Payne, Accountant, are clearly heard admitting to the many financial frauds within the FA.
However, this newspaper couldn’t independently verify the voices on the secret tape.
Jallah and Payne in a heated argument are heard on the tape saying that they have carried out several illegal transactions that have caused employees of the LFA to go without pay for months.
“You enjoy from the spoiled system. When we divide money here, you can eat it then you come here and even the false document we make you benefit from it,” Jallah Corvah said.
Payne replied to Jallah saying, “The payroll I can carry is not the real payroll. Ansu Dulleh and you Jallah open a separate and bogus account for the Antoinette Tubman Stadium without the leadership of the LFA knowing.”
The LFA accountant said he was instrumental in the closing of the ATS Account after than LFA Vice President for Operations Sekou Konneh established that Ansu Dulleh, who was chairman on Competitions, received huge amount of money for rental of the Stadium but could not account for it.
But responding to Payne, Corvah said at no time he and Ansu Dulleh opened a new or bogus account but rather they changed the signature of the account.
Jallah, who has been treasurer of the LFA for the past eight years, accused Payne of undermining him because he is eyeing his job.
“Everything you told Sekou and Mustapha, they asked me. I told them ‘yes,’ we did it. I am not credible; I am dirty everyone dirty, all of us can eat the money here. We have made a lot of mistakes here,” Corvah said to Payne.
Payne is also heard in the recording that the Statue was tempered with several times something that has caused the LFA to be in constitutional crisis.
It can be recalled that Corvah was accused of presenting a fake document to FIFA auditing team, which visited Liberia in December 2017.
The three-man team of auditors from FIFA visited Liberia to conduct a forensic audit on support from FIFA to Liberia and discover US$600,000, which the LFA could not account for.
LFA President Musa Bility said at the time it was surprising to discover such document among the documents that were presented to the international auditors during a closed-door meeting
Bility said the documents that were inserted into the LFA financial records were not part of any audit report and was not found on any bank statement.
“Unknown documents were presented to FIFA by unknown persons to the auditors which the LFA is not aware off,” said Bility.
The LFA, in a statement issued on January 3, 2018, termed the documents as false and requested a full-scale criminal investigation into the matter by the Liberia National Police but there have been no outcomes from the investigation.
The MOU involved an alleged payment of US$600,000.
Trying to disassociate the president of the LFA from the unaccounted US$600,000 deal, the LFA said its president has not been involved into financial transactions but is the responsibility of the relevant committees and the treasurer.
But addressing the clubs presidents, Bility disclosed that LFA Treasurer Jallah Corvah did not admit sending fake account documentations to FIFA.
Bility, who has headed the LFA for eight years, said he had not signed the documentation sent to FIFA claiming that his signature had been forged.
U$600,000 was sent to Bility’s wife Denise for their Stone Haven guest house and more than US$100,000 to his son Sidiki Bility, something the FA president denied saying his signature was forged and he didn’t authorize any money from the account of the LFA.
Liberian football stakeholders have repeatedly complained that none of the supposed FIFA or government money was making its way into the Liberian game with clubs struggling to pay players, referees underpaid, leagues and competitions being delayed or suspended and no prize money being dispersed. Money for equipment for grassroots initiatives had also been disappearing; even money sent by FIFA to aid the Ebola epidemic was disbursed by Bility to executive committee members, with Bility taking highest share of that aid money.
In addition coaches of the national team have been unpaid for ten months while employees of the LFA are been also unpaid for months.
One may wonder why the LFA has not taken action against the three employees, who admitted to such a corrupt act.
Since the revelation by Corvah, Payne and Sherriff they have continued to work at the LFA without any check on them.
When contacted Jallah Corvah did admit denied the recording but promised to speak to Frontpage Africa very Soon.
For their part, Joseph Sherriff and James Payne said they could not speak to the recording.
The Executive Committee of the LFA will hold a special meeting to look into the embracing recording and could suspend the three employees until a full-scale investigation is conducted.