MONROVIA: Musa Hassan Bility, former President of Liberia Football Association (LFA), now Nimba County District#7 Representative-elect, has now reached four years of his ten-year ban for corruption by the Federations of International Football Association (FIFA).
Bility was banned in July 2019 following a thorough and scrupulous investigation by the authoritative global football governing body and subsequently convicted for corruption.
Bility, an ardent sports lover, said he was shocked after running a vigorous campaign, then, to ascend to the coveted FIFA Presidency.
Although Bility has now clocked four years since he was banned by FIFA, it is unclear whether or not the LFA former boss has paid the US$500,000 fined imposed on him.
However, other reports indicate that Bility has been honoring other aspects of the FIFA ban which include not attending all football activities in and out of Liberia.
The BBC reported at the time that “(FIFA) African football official Musa Hassan Bility has been banned from the game for 10 years by FIFA‘s Ethics Committee following an investigation into the finances of the Liberian Football Association (LFA).
Musa Hassan Bility is a former LFA president and current member of the executive of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
He has been critical of the recent steps taken by FIFA to take a more direct role in the running of African football.
FIFA had earlier said that Bility was “guilty of having misappropriated FIFA funds as well as having received benefits and found himself in situations of conflict of interest, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”
The BBC also reported at the time that “Bility had said he will ask the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport to declare invalid the agreement by which FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura will be sent on a secondment to overhaul the African governing body.”
FIFA’s ethics committee formally investigated Bility during his tenue after the football’s world body audited the LFA’s financial accounts, which he headed.
FIFA found conflicts of interest, including “various payments made by the LFA to [and received from] entities owned by or connected to Mr. Bility and his family”.
FIFA also identified “misappropriation of the funds granted under FIFA’s 11 against Ebola fight campaign.”
It was launched in 2014 by FIFA working with the World Health Organization (WHO), and included football legend Cristiano Ronaldo helping raise awareness of the medical emergency in Africa.
Liberia was one of three west African countries affected by an outbreak of Ebola between 2013 and 2016, when more than 10,000 people lost their lives.
Bility was also suspected of misappropriating money from Liberia‘s annual grants from FIFA which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
After Bility was questioned by FIFA’s ethics investigators, he led resistance within CAF’s top committee against a plan for FIFA’s Samoura, who is from Senegal, effectively running the Cairo-based organization on an initial six-month basis.
Bility said the move breached CAF’s legal statutes and would be the basis of his appeal to sport’s highest court in Switzerland.
FIFA said it has been investigating Bility since May 2018 following a forensic audit of the LFA.
In a statement, FIFA added that there were also “various payments made by the LFA to (and received from) entities owned by or connected to Mr. Bility and his family.”
Report: Bility has said that he will be considering how he can appeal against the FIFA sanctions.
“I have requested my legal team to delve into this matter expeditiously with a view to challenging this decision by the Ethics committee through all available channels,” he wrote in a statement, then.
Bility, then: “Let me reiterate my commitment to exonerating myself off of these spurious accusations.”
The former LFA boss added that he had concerns over the timing of the FIFA ban, which came shortly after he filed a case against FIFA and CAF at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
However, following months of the case, Bility, who was banned from all FIFA activities for stealing the organization’s money meant to save lives in Liberia lost his appeal against a 10-year ban.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, upheld FIFA’s 10-year ban against Bility and the €455,000 ($500,000) fine.
FIFA said then, that it will keep the ban in place if he does not pay the fine.
The 10-year ban by the world’s football governing body, FIFA, was triggered after Bility was found guilty of misappropriation of FIFA funds.
Bility claimed at the time that FIFA was bias in the case against him because he (Bility) was vocal against malpractices in the organization’s activities.
However, Bility is now involved in full time politics in Liberia. He chairs the opposition Liberty Party (LP).
He is also the Chairman for an opposition bloc, styled: Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
Musa Hassan Bility contested on the CPP ticket and won in Nimba County, District#7 in October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.
Despite his controversial credentials, Bility is now eying the Speakership of incoming 55th National Legislature in January 2024, as he challenges four other candidates, some of whom are backed by governing Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC) and other opposition parties.