Sierra Leone: 'I Neither Conspired, Misappropriated U.S.$80,000 Nor Misled ACC'

President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone.
21 September 2020

-Victor Fon

Former Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh has on Friday testified that he neither conspired, misappropriated the sum of USD80,000 nor misled the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC),and that the 1st accused neither gave him money nor did he saw him to receive any money from him.

Vice president Victor Foh was on Thursday testifying in court as defense witness number 3 before the Anti-Corruption court presided by Justice Reginald Fynn.

He admitted being the supervisor of the Haj committee in 2017, managing the crisis which had befallen the Haj.

He added that whenever there were difficulties among the chairman, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs and the secretary to the Committee-the 1st accused, he always came in to resolve the matter and report to the President.

The defense witness narrated that Thursday, 17th August, 2017 was a busy day for him as he received two visiting heads of state from the Republic of Togo and republic of Liberia at the Lungi International Airport.

The two heads of state were in the country to mourn with Sierra Leoneans after the mudslide disaster which took place on Monday 14th August,2017, noting that the two heads of state visited the site and also took part in the burial ceremony.

The witness recalled that whilst waiting to receive the heads of state he saw a stream of intending pilgrims going towards the Turkish Airline and that his security details informed him that they were Sierra Leonean pilgrims going to Haj.

"I took my time off and went to the aircraft and addressed the intending pilgrims and asked them to pray for the deliverance of our nation. The first accused was in the flight and that was the first and last time I set my eyes on him as he also bade farewell to the pilgrims. I later came with the visiting heads of state to the President and we went to the mudslide site and then to the burial at Waterloo and took them back to Lungi," he testified.

He said in the morning before he left for Lungi and while at the State House security post, a close protection security approached him and gave him some information together with a bag containing forty million Leones, which was a refund that was paid to Mrs. Admire Sesay that he pre-financed to meet the timeline the committee required.

The witness said he recalled the 18th August, 2017, when he received a delegation from the Bank of Sierra Leone led by the former Governor, Dr. Patrick Sandy,who made a donation of one hundred million Leones.

He said staff of Zenith Bank also made a donation of one hundred and fifty million Leones and that he took all those monies to State House.

He testified that on that same day after the Muslims prayed, a host of them complained that they had been left out from getting the visas.

He said being the principal assistant to the President, their decision was to talk to the aggrieved pilgrims and that they conveyed a meeting which almost ended the same day while he later left for the Vice President Lodge.

The witness further recalled on the 9th, 10th 11th and 12 September, 2017,while coming from his former lodge around 3 to 4pm when a close protection officer introduced a gentleman to him as Fackeh Conteh, who the 1st accused had sent to deliver the sum of USD60,000.

He said the Fackeh had told him that the 1st accused was staying in a certain hotel and that he Fackeh would bring the money on Sunday.

"On the 10th September, 2017 at about 8.30 to 9pm, 1st accused called me begging that he was in chains as he had made statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission that he left the sum of USD80,000 before going to Mecca and that he was in a hotel and begged me to help him. On Monday, 11th September, I explained to the President who told me that we should resolve the issue and retrieve the money, but Fackeh only came with the money at about 7.7.30pm.That same day I alerted my security officers and did a video recording of what happened," he testified. The following day I and the President tried to resolve the issue by sending the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission and that Fackeh Conteh was also escorted to the ACC," he testified.

The matter was adjourned to Monday September 21, 2020.

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