The former vice president for administration at the Liberia Football Association (LFA) Musa Shannon has come under a barrage of accusations when he returned a US$1,500 given him as his personal share to carry out awareness against the greatest enemy of the Liberian people, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the dark days of 2014.
The US$50,000 FIFA grant was to help the LFA support the government’s effort to fight an enemy whose weapon was not shaking hands. But prior to receiving the USD1, 500, Mr. Shannon was almost completing a USD15, 000 Ebola Awareness Campaign through the support of the Swiss Embassy near Monrovia.
That campaign was supported by former Liberian international players, including the legendary midfield maestro Kelvin Sebwe and a host of his colleagues.
Later, according to Mr. Shannon, he was in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, when he learned that some issues had been raised on the money that he had received from the Liberia Football Association.
Aware of the simmering contentious nature of how issues are turned around and miscalculated against others, he said he did what he thought was necessary when, after his return to Monrovia, he returned the US$1,500 to the Liberia Football Association. And just before and during the recent LFA Presidential elections, as elections are always, the issue was raised and many of those who are not on his side have stated that his action to receive the money was criminal, though they have not been able to establish any criminal intent, and therefore he is liable for the “misuse” of the US$50,000.
Truly, there has not been any official investigation by the LFA or any other legitimate body that adjudged any of the executive committee members who received the money guilty of any criminal act. In fact, Mr. Musa Hassan Bility, president of the LFA who had control of the money is on record to have said that the balance of the money, US$30,000 is in an escrow account.
What happened to the rest of the executive committee members who received their share of the money? There are available records at the LFA that indicate that some of the members requested the LFA to deduct their share from their regular honorarium that is paid them periodically.
Mr. Shannon, on the other hand, has repeatedly said that he returned the money to the LFA and there has not been anyone from the LFA who has denied his claim. Of course, many others see Shannon’s action as criminal and one thinks he is being treated unfairly.
Is it not commendable that when he heard that other people were raising negative issues about the money he chose on his own volition to return the money to the LFA? Should he not be applauded rather than being crucified in the media? It is often said that a man should be given his flowers while alive, and we can all agree that Shannon has served Liberian football to the best of his ability, once as a player and second as an administrator?
Let us be careful and with a sense of responsibility when we become judges and haul verbal missiles against those we don’t seem to agree with. And if at all we have a case that demands justice, we should use mechanisms that are established to ensure that in our desire to advocate for fair-play and justice we do not by our own actions trample on the rights of others.