By James Kamara-Manneh
The former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Victor Bockarie Foh, who also happened to be the second accused in the Hajj gate trial has denied receiving US$ 80,000 from the first accused, Sheka Sahid Kamara. He testified on 17 September 2020, before Justice Reginald Fyn.
According to the witness, he said he never told the ACC in his statement that the first accused left with him the said amount.
Led in evidence by his lawyer Hindolo Gevao, he identified the first accused, Sheka Sahid Kamara as the Secretary to the Hajj Committee, adding that while he was serving as the supervisor of the said Committee, he reported directly to the former President.
The former vice President noted that he was receiving guests from other countries that were coming to sympathize with Sierra Leone following the mudslide disaster that claimed the lives of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans. He continued that it was at that moment he saw the intended pilgrims parading towards the Turkish aircraft as they were preparing to offer prayers for the nation in return.
He said he saw the first accused in the aircraft, stressing that it was the last time he saw the accused facially before the intended pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia, citing that the first accused was to only bid farewell to the pilgrims.
He explained that while coming from the office of the former President, one of the security guards approached him with a bag containing Le45 million. “The security guard told me that the first accused had given him the bag to be handed over to me.”
The witness testified that the security personnel counted the money, stating that it was money personally belonging to him which he pre-financed one Admiya Sesay to provide sandwich for the Hajj Committee and that was the money being returned to him.
According to the witness, they received numerous complaints from people who felt they had been left out of the Hajj process, and went further to say a host of Muslims went to State House raising the same concern.
Former VP Foh said he together with President Koroma had to engage the deprived people, stressing that he did not set eyes on the first accused on that day.
The witness said he was told that the first accused gave him US$60,000 to give him as the first accused was in a hotel. Mr. Foh said he was shocked by the story he received about the first accused.
He said Fakeh promised to come with the US$ 60,000 to him on 10 September, but never materialized .He added that on 9 September the first accused called him and told him that he had told the ACC that he had left with him US$80,000, when in actual fact he had $60,000 and was trying to get the remaining $20,000 according to the former VP.
Mr. Foh said Fakeh finally came with the US$60,000 to his office as he (VP) alerted his security staff to take live footages of Fakeh’s visit. He said he believed that footages was with the ACC.
The ACC is alleging that Sheka Sahid Kamara, Victor Bockarie Foh and Abu Bakarr Carew on a date between 1 January -30 September 2017 conspired to engage in a project without prior planning to undertake the preparation for the 2017 Hajj pilgrimage where US$ 80,000, as well as Le300 million are alleged to have been misappropriated by the aforementioned persons. Justice Fyn adjourned the matter to 21 September.