By Jane B. Mansaray.
Sierra Leone’s former Vice President, Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh and five others including past Ministers were yesterday arraigned at the High Court before Justice Reginald Fynn on eight counts of criminal related indictment ranging from conspiracy to commit a corruption offence, misappropriation of public funds and misleading the ACC contrary to law.
The matter of the defendants, Sheku Sahid Kamara, Victor Bockarie Foh, Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray (former Minister of Mines and Mineral Resource), Mohamed Alie Bah (former Minister of State VP’s Office), Ibrahim Fakeh Conteh and Abu Bakarr Carew was mentioned by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) lead Prosecutor, Lawyer Calvin T. Mantsebo.
The particulars on the indictment state that, the defendants on a date between the 1st January and 30th September 2017 in Freetown, being Chairman, Supervisor, Secretary and Members to the Hajj Coordinating Committee of 2017, conspired together to engage and undertake a project without prior planning and also misappropriated the sum of Three Hundred Million Leones, funds donated to the Government of Sierra Leone for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans intending to perform the 2017 Hajj or Pilgrimage to Mecca.
It was also alleged that, the first accused person, Sheku Sahid Kamara misled the ACC by making a statement that public funds to the tune of Sixty Thousand United State Dollars was handed over to the second defendant, Victor Foh, whilst in actual fact it was Eighty Thousand United States Dollars.
Making an application before Justice Reginald Fynn, the ACC Prosecutor, Lawyer Calvin T. Mantsebo applied for a trial by Judge alone instead of Judge and Jury, citing Section 144 sub sections 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act No.35 of 1965, and at the same time relied on certificate of the Attorney General dated on the 20th August 2018.
A battery of lawyers representing the defendants including Lansana Dumbuya applied through the Bench for the prosecution to serve them the indictment, and all other documents relating to the matter.
The prosecuting counsel asked for a long adjournment date in order for them to prepare their documents and serve the defence team.
Another Defence Counsel, Yada Williams opposed to a long adjournment, because according to him the ACC has taken a very long time to put together the indictments and brings them to court without prior planning.
After listening to both sides, Justice Fynn said he will not accommodate any trial by ambush, but in the interim, called on the prosecution to comply for a discharge or speedy trial.
He adopted the bail condition granted to all defendants by ACC.
The matter has been adjourned to the 26th of September 2018.