The lawyer for the State, Musa Mewa, has said before Justice William Atuguba at the Commission of Inquiry (COI), that the former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Victor Bockarie Foh, failed to comply with the Assets Declaration of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Mewa said, “The COI found some asset declarations during the Parliamentary vetting approval before him becoming Vice President.” He revealed further that the former VP acquired 12 properties across the country amounting to $22,260,500 USD, as per valuation certification. (Equivalent to Le175,215,000,000). Mewa submitted, “Having failed to declare his assets for four years, he led his lifestyles far more than his emolument despite him being a businessman, but there is no evidence before the Commission to support the claim.” He furthered, “The Commission found from Babah Kamara, his former aide, that all his assets were acquired during the period of service.” The State counsel stated he relied on evidence by Babah Kamara with his statement dated 12th October 2019 that former Vice President Foh acquired several properties after his appointment as VP in 2015. He went on that the 94 Tinkonko Road property situated on 7 town lots was acquired in 2018, this among other reasons saw the former VP living a lifestyle above his official emolument. Lawyer H.M. Gevao, representing Person of Interest, Victor Bockarie Foh, said there is evidence before the Commission that former VP acquired only one property at Third Street in Bo in 2017-2018 at Le80 million and all other properties were acquired before 2007. He said all the properties mentioned in the written closing statement of counsel for the State were properties acquired before his appointment as Vice President.
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Gevao revealed that when the former Vice President was appointed as the country Ambassador to China, his monthly emolument was $7,600 submitting that all the values attached to the properties he bought are within his earning bracket as an Ambassador to China. He said therefore, his emolument thereof the value pegged to the properties as at that time stating that his annual income as VP was $91,200 and for the three-year period he served, his total earning was $273,600. Counsel for Person of Interest, Victor Bockarie Foh, said in 2013 the total value of all properties is far below $100,000 saying that with regards property situated at Koribondo Road in Bo, there is evidence before the Commission that the said property was let to Allotropes Mining Company for $220,000 for a period of four years in 2014 stating that two of the houses in the same compound do not belong to him. He noted that the values attached to the properties in the address and the purported current values are not the value as at the time of acquisition. Lawyer Gevao highlighted that during cross-examination the unprofessionalism of the valuator came out clearly when he failed to tell the Commission the correct description of one of the properties in Limba Village, Bo district. He said based on that show of unprofessional blunder of the valuator makes the valuation reports unreliable and he therefore called on the Commission not to consider the said report. He concluded, “No evidence was led that the former Vice President lived far above his standard of his emolument as Vice President.” The Commission was adjourned for today Monday 27th January 2020.
By Mohamed Kabba
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