Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh yesterday denied he did not sign any deal that has to do with toxic waste while on an official visit to Lebanon, adding that there was no such discussion with Lebanese authorities while in Beirut to open Sierra Leone’s Consular Office and meet with the business community.
The Vice President represented President Ernest Bai Koroma at the 13th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, which was held at the level of Heads of the States from the 14-15 April, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey, on the theme: “Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace”. He then flew to Beirut to open a consular office and hold discussions with Lebanese officials.
Early this year, a letter signed by former presidential adviser, Hon. Alhaji Ben Kargbo, which gave clearance for Lebanon to deposit waste in Sierra Leone, was leaked, drawing criticisms from civil society organisations and members of the public.
Although State House ordered an investigation, the issue has died a natural death, with little indication the police will prosecute the veteran politician for giving the go-ahead to a private company contracted by Beirut to dump waste in the country, although he lacked such authority.
However, while responding to a question posed during a presser to update the press about his trip, Vice President Foh said: “The issue of the trashgate was never discussed in our meetings because it was not part of our agenda. In fact, I never signed any deal that has to do with toxic waste.”
He emphasised that the issue had been addressed amicably long before his departure and that there was no need for it to have been discussed by officials from the two countries.
With regards the summit, the vice president stated that the issue of terrorism, especially in the Arab States and Africa, was discussed in detail and that at the end of the summit a communiqué was adopted by those present to condemn terrorism.
Mr. Foh said during his meetings with authorities in Lebanon, Turkey and a delegation from Saudi Arabia, he appealed for scholarships to be awarded to students in Sierra Leone, especially those that cannot afford to pay their fees.