Witch Hunt or Conflict of Interest?

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Liberia’s Technical Director for Sports Development_web.jpg

 

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf celebrated Liberia’s midfield maestro Kelvin Sebwe in 2009 for being the only Liberian professional to officially hang his boots at home (Liberia) from both national and international football ending a career spanning more than two decades.

Sebwe was recommended and appointed Technical Director for Football Development at the Youth and Sports Ministry created by the group Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate National (TOKTEN), in collaboration with the Civil Servant Agency (CSA), and sponsored by the UNDP in 2010.

About six months later, the focus of TOKTEN’s program was diverted from sports to education and agriculture, canceling the program at the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Coach Sebwe was subsequently employed by then Minister of Youth and Sports, Madam Etmonia David Tarpeh, as Technical Director for Sports Development.

In 2010 the ex-midfield maestro, along with Henry Browne (the Technical Director of the Liberia Football Association) and others achieved CAF’s License B Certificate in coaching.

In 2011, Coach Sebwe was appointed Deputy Coach under Italian coach Roberto Landi to manage the national football team, Lone Star, as well as Deputy Coach under Coach Kaetu Smith.

It means, he served as deputy coach during the administrations of Etmonia David Tarpeh and S. Tornorlah Varpilah.

Fortunately, Coach Sebwe was appointed for the ‘third time’ as Deputy Coach, under his former teammate, Coach James Salinsa Debbah.

Unfortunately, about a month after Coach Debbah and others penned their contracts – making them legitimate employees, Coach Sebwe is yet to sign.

Impeccable sources told the Daily Observer that the impediment of signing Coach Sebwe’s contract is owing to what is described as a ‘Conflict of Interest’ while others called it a ‘witch hunt.’

Two staffers in the Sports Bureau of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said yesterday that the Ministry is arguing that if Coach Sebwe is employed at the LFA and the same time serving as Technical Director for Sports Development, then it is a conflict of interest.

The staffers said the Ministry’s revised handbook forbids an employee from working at two places – but the staff didn’t say whether the law affects appointed employees or support staff.

However, some football pundits believe that the Ministry’s decision against Coach Sebwe’s contract to assist Lone Star is due to political differences–where Coach Sebwe is a member of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and openly supported Sen. George M. Weah in the 2014 Special Senatorial Elections and Youth and Sports Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe, a former Secretary General and Executive Member of the CDC, supported the President’s son, Robert Sirleaf.

The football pundits are arguing that if the Head Coach of Lone Star, James Salinsa Debbah, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Liberia Maritime Authority, and Coach Janjay Jacobs, the Deputy Coach of the U-23 Lone Star can sign their contracts, while Coach Sebwe, who is the Technical Director for Sports All Development couldn’t sign.

The President of the LFA, Musa H. Bility in his monthly press conference resumed in Match, admitted that Coach Sebwe was not among those who signed their contracts, and promised to ensure that the 43-year-old pen his deal.

All efforts to contact Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe through his cell phone and his office on 19th Street, proved futile

Coach Sebwe will not speak on the matter when contacted by the Daily Observer yesterday but expressed disappointment over the delay to complete his contract with the LFA.

“If it were either Madam Etmonia Tarpeh or Hon. S. Tornorlah Varpilah, I would have signed my contract long since,” Coach Sebwe said.

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