May 30 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is threatening to take action following the suspension of Sierra Leone's newly elected National Olympic Committee by the nation's Sports Minister Paul Kamara, who accused the body of disobeying state authority.
The move by Kamara (pictured top), who is no stranger to controversy after his decision to suspend the entire Executive Board of the Sierra Leone Football Association in 2011 nearly saw the country suspended by FIFA, has been branded "a clear conflict with the principle of autonomy of the Olympic Movement" by the IOC.
The IOC's ruling Executive Board says it will now send a letter to the Sports Minister "to explain the IOC's position as well as the basic principles and rules that govern the Olympic Movement" and if its requests are not met threatens to consider "protective measures" as outlined in Rule 27.9 of the Olympic Charter.
Kamara issued the suspension after members of the NOC refused to resign, in line with his demands, moments after their election at a congress earlier this month.
He had originally ordered the congress be put on hold, citing the failure of the outgoing committee to declare financial statements and insisted the 17-member committee had "flouted the authority of the state" by going ahead with the meeting.
Meanwhile, the suspended NOC, which had preparations for Rio 2016 in its sights, remains defiant, with administrative secretary Alie Koroma charging that Kamara's actions are a "political interference" and questioning his authority to take the decision.
Kamara has also suspended the Ministry's assistant director for sport Pamela Williams, President of the IOC-chartered Women in Sports Sierra Leone, after she failed to follow his orders to threaten the NOC to put their election on hold and attended the "forbidden" congress.
She has since denied the allegations and has accused the Kamara of "inciting" her to do unethical things.
"The Minister...is doing something negative; things that are not in the interest of the Ministry but for his personal gains," Williams alleged.
Sierra Leone has sent athletes to every Summer Olympics held since Mexico City 1968 with the exception of the Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976 Games, although the nation has never won an Olympic medal.
The country has never been represented at a Winter Olympics.
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