Abdulrahman Koroma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 September 2018:
Sierra Leone’s former President Ernest Bai Koroma has been roped in the ongoing Hajjgate trial at the High Court of Sierra Leone.
Lawyer Hindolo M. Gavao, lead counsel for the second defendant Victor Bockarie Foh, on Tuesday 2nd October 2018 requested that Ernest Bai Koroma be subpoenaed to give evidence as his first witness in the ongoing hajjgate matter against his client, if the former president fails to show up.
Lawyer Gavao made this request after the cross examination session of the Anti- Corruption Commission investigator, Joseph Bockarie Noah who served as the first prosecution witness in the trial. (Photo: left to right – Former mines Minister Minkailu Bah, former president Koroma, and former vice president Foh – all implicated in the hajjgate corruption trial).
In reply, Justice Reginald Fynn – the presiding Judge, advised Lawyer Gavao to be patient.
During his statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission, Victor Foh continuously alleged that the former president was aware of every twist and turn that was happening within the hajj committee.
Foh said he was assigned by the former president to supervise the Hajj committee to serve as a mediator between the then social welfare minister, Sylvia Blyden and the Hajj Committee, and that he was later removed from the said position and placed in charge of welcoming dignitaries from other countries during the mudslide scourge in the country.
The country’s former vice president Foh (Photo) denied receiving eighty-thousand dollars from the Hajj Committee which he described as insult to his personality.
He accepted receiving sixty-thousand dollars from one Ibrahim Fakeh Conteh (5th defendant), who was introduced to him by the former president but later asked the 5th defendant to return the said money to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The country’s Anti-Graft body alleged that eighty thousand United States dollars was missing, in which six past government officials including the former Vice President and former mines minister – Minkailu Mansaray are accused of conspiring to commit corruption offence, contrary to the ACC Act of 2008.
Victor Foh – supervisor of the Hajj Committee, Minkailu Mansaray – Chairman of the Hajj Executive Committee, and Sheka Sahid Kamara – Special Assistant to former President Koroma and secretary of the Hajj committee, Mohamed Alie Bah – former Minister of State in the Office of the Vice President, Ibrahim Fakeh Conteh, and Abu Bakarr Carew – former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, were brought before the court in August 2018 on eight count charges of conspiracy to commit a corruption offense, misappropriation of public funds and engaging in a project without prior planning.
The six accused persons denied all the allegations levied against them. The matter has been adjourned to 3rd October 2018 for next hearing.