Sources from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) indicates that former Minister of State, Office of the Vice President, Mohamed Ali Bah, Special Assistant, Office of the President, on Social and Political Affairs, Alhaji Sheka Kamara (Shekito), Nuru Deen Yilla Sankoh and one Malador may be indicted in connection with the hajj gate corruption scandal.
Facts are that the 2017 government hajj scholarship was marred by corruption with allegations that certain government officials in charge of the process sold some of the scholarships meant for ordinary citizens to mainly foreigners for about $USD 4,000 and above.
This singular surreptitious act, in the estimation of some members of the public by these officials caused embarrassment for many of the beneficiaries of the hajj scholarship, who were prevented from travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj at the eleventh hour simply because their spaces had been sold to others.
The ugly development angered former President Koroma to the point of firing the aforementioned officials and instituted a committee to investigate the issue, which prompted the ACC to also spring into actions to unravel reasons for the hue and cry surrounding the hajj.
Muslim organizations and scholars added their voices to growing calls for the whole hajj process, especially the government scholarship to be probed into and culprits brought to book.
The ACC in the wake of its investigations conducted raids at State House and Office of the Vice President and residents of officials handling the entire program and in the process seized computers, pass port books and other materials deemed fit to be used as evidence.
Also, upon the return of all 800 pilgrims, their pass ports were taken away from them at the Lungi International Airport by ACC officials for further investigations to ascertain how they got their visas and other travelling documents.
After almost a year of investigations, reports are that the ACC during the course of their action recovered about $USD 60,000 from the Office of the Vice President and residents of some of the officials and has since handed over same to the Ministry of Social Welfare for preparation of this year’s hajj.
The Commission is reported to have concluded its investigations into the matter and indictments will soon be made against certain officials at the helm of the hajj affairs for financial misappropriation.
Meanwhile, concerns have been expressed about the notable absent of names like the former Vice President, Victor Foh and Minister of Mines, who also doubles as head of the Hajj Committee, Minkailu Mansaray into the investigations of the scandal.