In a staged theatrical to dramatise the ongoing court proceedings in which the former Vice President Hon. Victor Bockarie Foh is facing trial for corruption charges, the former VP, through his lawyer, has requested of the court to consider issuing a subpoena to force the former president, Dr. Ernest Koroma, to testify as a witness in the trial.
Hindolo M. Gevao Esq., defense counsel for Foh, made the verbal application for former President Koroma to serve as his client’s very first defense witness.
Hindolo M. Gevao Esq said this while cross examining the first prosecution witness, Joseph B. Noah, a senior investigating officer at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Gevao was referencing his client’s statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission in which Foh repeatedly said the former president was aware of all activities which Victor Foh was responsible for in the planning process of the 2017 Hajj for which Foh served as supervisor to the committee which planned the controversial Hajj.
During the cross examination of the investigator, Gevao diverted from his questioning to make application to the court to extend invitation to the former president to testify as his client’s defense witness. The lawyer said this was essential for the former president to appear and speak so as to prove the innocence of his client as the vice president.
Gevao also went on to apply for the court to send a subpoena to force the former president if he does not comply with his invitation to serve as his client’s witness.
“I would want the court to extend invitation to former President Koroma to appear in court as the first witness for the second accused person. If he does not comply, I apply for this honorable court to send him a subpoena,” H.M. Gevao said.
Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Reginald Fynn, in response, admonished the said counsel to wait for the proper time to make such an application. He reminded the lawyer that all cases have stages and applications are to be made at the appropriate stage they were warranted to be made. The judge urged the lawyer to remain calm in establishing his case.
It can be recalled that Foh together with Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray, former Minister of Mines and Mineral Resource, Mohamed Alie Bah former Minister of State at (VP) Office, Sheka Sahid Kamara as former Special Assistant to the former president, Ibrahim Fakeh Conteh an associate of Sheka Kamara and former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs Abu Bakarr Carew are all standing trial before Justice Reginald Fynn on eight (8) counts of various offences including conspiracy to commit corruption offences, engaging in a project without prior planning, misappropriation of public funds, and willfully failing to comply with procedural guidelines; all contrary to the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.
The Court indictment and summaries of case as filed in Court, asserts that, the defendants on dates between the 1st January and 30th September 2017 in Freetown, being Chairman, Supervisor, Secretary and Members to the 2017 Hajj National Coordinating Committee, conspired together to engage and undertake a project without prior planning and misappropriated the sum of Three Hundred Million Leones fund donated to the then government of Sierra Leone for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans intending to perform the 2017 Hajj Pilgrim.
It is also alleged that, the first accused person, Sheka Sahid Kamara and Victor Foh conspired to misappropriate public funds in the sum of US$80,000 donated to the government of Sierra Leone for the benefit of Sierra Leonean Muslims. It also alleged that the former Permanent Secretary of Social Welfare Abubakarr Carew, did not follow procedure to withdraw $314,000 from Hajj funds and done in direct contravention of the directives given to him by the former Minister of Social Welfare Dr. Sylvia Blyden.
A battery of lawyers are representing the defendants. This includes; H.M. Gevao Esq., Lansana Dumbuya Esq., and Yada Williams Esq. Lawyer Calvin A. Mantsebo is representing the Anti-Corruption Commission. The ACC has examined the first prosecution witness and the witness is now being cross-examined.