Sierra Leone FA president Isha Johansen indicted on corruption charges

Sierra Leone Football Association president Isha Johansen has been indicted on six counts of corruption, deepening the problems for football in the West African country.

Johansen, one of the few female presidents in international football and a popular figure at FIFA, was charged by Sierra Leone's Anti-Corruption Commission alongside association secretary general Chris Kamara.

They face charges of abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds. The anti-corruption commission didn't release full details in the indictment but said the two should make their first appearance in court on Oct. 30.

Johansen was charged while she is in Ghana for Confederation of African Football meetings this weekend. She is a member of CAF's executive committee and on FIFA's member associations committee.

The indictment also came two days after Johansen indicated her intention to stand for a second term as head of the Sierra Leone association, doing so in a media interview while out of the country.

That election, and elections for the SLFA's executive committee, should have been held in August but have been delayed indefinitely by FIFA over integrity checks for candidates. The Sierra Leone government has insisted they go ahead.

Johansen denied the charges, telling the BBC: "This announcement by the ACC was inevitable and predictable -- I am deeply saddened.

"It's another sad day for justice, integrity and patriotism in Sierra Leone, another sad day for any woman who dares to pioneer change. I always knew that my announcement to run for a second term would provoke strong reactions."

The anti-corruption commission had been investigating allegations of financial mismanagement at the football association since 2015, it said. Commission head Ady Macauley said it was the right time to indict Johansen and Kamara.

"We think this is now the legally appropriate time for the decision. We are not concerned with the politics of SLFA,'' he said.

A FIFA delegation is expected in Sierra Leone next month to help organise new elections.