Hajj gate trial: Prosecution closes case 

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December 4, 2018

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The prosecution in the on-going hajj corruption trial involving officials of the former All Peoples Congress (APC) administration Monday closed their case at the Freetown High Court No. 1.

Addressing Justice Reginald Fynn, Anti-Corruption Commission Prosecutor, Calvin Mantsebo told the court that he had done his best to get Nuru Deen Sankoh to testify in the matter, but to no avail.

Mantsebo implored the court to disregard the statements of Nuru Deen Sankoh and one Thomas Kanu, who had been listed on the back of the indictment as witnesses, noting that their testimonies were no longer relevant to the prosecution’s case.

Speaking on behalf of the defence, Yada Williams thanked the prosecution for the peaceful conduct of their case, stating that they intend to submit written ‘No Case Submissions’ individually on behalf of their respective clients.

In response, Justice Fynn ordered the defence to submit their written submissions to the court not later than 24th December, while also ordering the prosecution to submit their reply no later than 25th January 2019.

The ACC had indicted Sheka Sahid Kamara, former Special Assistant to former President Koroma; former Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh; Minkailu Mansaray, Deputy Chairman and Leader of the APC and former Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources; Mohamed Alie Bah; Ibrahim Fackeh Conteh; and Abu Bakarr Carew, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, on eight counts of corruption.

According to the anti-graft agency, all accused persons on diverse dates between 1st January and 30th September 2017, allegedly  conspired to commit corruption offences by misappropriating eighty thousand United States Dollars (USD $80,000), donated to the Government of Sierra Leone for Muslims to perform pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The ACC also alleges that Sheka Sahid Kamara, Victor Bockarie Foh, Minkailu Mansaray, Mohamed Alieu Bah, and Abu Bakarr Carew on dates unknown between 1st of January and 30th September 2017, conspired to engage in a project without prior planning and conspired to undertake preparation for the 2017 Hajj pilgrimage.

The commission further claims that the accused persons conspired to knowingly mislead the ACC by making statement to the investigators that the sum of US$60,000 was handed over to the 2nd accused, Victor Foh by 1st accused, Sheka Sahid Kamara, when the actual amount was US$80,000.

Again, the ACC says that Sheka Sahid Kamara on dates between 1st July and 30th September 2017 misappropriated the sum of Le300, 000,000 donated to the government of Sierra Leone for Muslims intending to perform Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

In addition, the anti-graft agency alleges that Abu Bakarr Carew on diverse dates between 1st and 30th August 2017 failed to comply with the appropriate procedure by approving the withdrawal of US$314,000 by Sheka Sahid Kamara from the Hajj Account No.003001012636100284 at ECObank.

The Appellate Court Justice (sitting as High Court Judge) adjourned the matter to 4th February 2019.