Revenue Collection In Nigeria’s Capital Causes Face-off Between Lawmakers

House-of-Representatives-in-Rowdy-sessionA disagreement over the collection of Tenement Rates in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory has led to a face-off between two members of the House of Representatives during a public hearing on the matter.

The disagreement occurred on Wednesday when officials of the Federal Capital Territory appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Capital Territory.

They had come to answer questions on the collection of revenue, especially Tenement Rates, in the city, a step the committee says is illegal.

Addressing the gathering, the Chairman of the House Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Honourable Herman Hembe, argued that only the Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service is allowed to collect any form of tax in the nation’s capital.

But his position was, however, opposed by Zaphania Jisalo, a lawmaker from the Federal Capital Territory.

This situation could not be resolved, forcing the committee to enter into a closed door meeting.

At another meeting, the Chairman of the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Honourable Umar Bago and the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, disagreed over the amount of debt owed to the agency.

The disagreement followed a discussion on the award of a debt recovery contract, which the committee says it is investigating.

After the disagreement on the issue, the committee fixed an investigative hearing for next month when the committee promised to look into the issues raised by petitions it received on the matter.

Court Jails Former NIMASA DG, Omatseye For Five Years

Raymond Omatseye, Court, ScamThe Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has sentenced the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Raymond Omatseye, to five years in prison.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia convicted and sentenced Mr Omatseye after finding him guilty on 24 out of 27 counts charge bordering on bid rigging and contract splitting

The EFCC had charged the former NIMASA DG  with N1.5 billion contract scam.

At the last adjourned date on March 14,counsels representing the prosecution and defence had both adopted their final written addresses in court.

Counsel to the accused, Mr Edoka Onyeke, in his address urged the court to discountenance the arguments of prosecution and dismiss the charge against his client.

He argued that the prosecution had not been able to proof its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Onyeke said that out of the 27-count charge preferred against the accused, 25 dealt strictly with the issue of approval of contract above the threshold while the remaining two were on bid rigging.

He maintained that the prosecution did not prove that exhibit PD 16, which it relied on in dealing with the issue of threshold, got to NIMASA at the time the contracts were awarded while he urged the court to discharge his client.

In his argument, the prosecutor, Mr Godwin Obla, urged the court to hold that the case of the prosecution was “as clear as daylight, and had also been proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

He had submitted that the facts of the case spoke volumes, stating that the accused in exhibit PD 1 and 2 clearly articulated his threshold for goods as not exceeding 2.5 million Naira and for works as not exceeding five million Naira.

Obla said that count 25 of the charge, which dealt on threshold was straightforward while he added that sufficient evidence had been adduced to show that the accused awarded contracts above thresholds.

Alleged Scam: Court Defers Ruling On Omatseye’s Case

Raymond Omatseye-Court-ScamA Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, further reserved May 20 for judgment in a case against Raymond Omatseye.

Omatseye is a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), who was charged with 1.5 billion Naira contract scam.

He was arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 27-count charge bordering on bid rigging and contract splitting.

The suit, which was originally fixed for judgment on Monday, was adjourned at the instance of the court to May 20.

The trial judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, who has been transferred from the Lagos division of the court, is expected to return and deliver the judgment on that date.

At the last adjourned date on March 14, counsels representing the prosecution and defence had both adopted their final written addresses in court.

Counsel to the accused, Mr Edoka Onyeke, in his address urged the court to discountenance the arguments of prosecution and dismiss the charge against his client.

He argued that the prosecution had not been able to proof its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Onyeke said that out of the 27-count charge preferred against the accused, 25 dealt strictly with the issue of approval of contract above the threshold while the remaining two were on bid rigging.

He maintained that the prosecution did not prove that exhibit PD 16, which it relied on in dealing with the issue of threshold, got to NIMASA at the time the contracts were awarded while he urged the court to discharge his client.

In his argument, the prosecutor, Mr Godwin Obla, urged the court to hold that the case of the prosecution was “as clear as daylight, and had also been proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

He had submitted that the facts of the case spoke volumes, stating that the accused in exhibit PD 1 and 2 clearly articulated his threshold for goods as not exceeding 2.5 million Naira and for works as not exceeding five million Naira.

Obla said that count 25 of the charge, which dealt on threshold was straightforward while he added that sufficient evidence had been adduced to show that the accused awarded contracts above thresholds.

He had appealed to the court to so hold, and convict the accused accordingly.

Rivers Rerun: No APC Leader Made Inciting Statement – Peterside

Dakuku Peterside and Nyesom Wike on Rivers Rerun ElectionsThe candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, Dakuku Peterside, says no leader of the party made any sort of inciting statement during the just concluded rerun election in the state.

Mr Peterside, who is the current Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),made the statement on Wednesday while giving his opinion on the violence perpetrated during parliamentary polls in the southern Nigeria oil-rich state.

“I challenge anybody to bring any evidence to show that any leader of the APC in Rivers State asked the people to come out and perpetrate violence, ask people to kill, ask people to write their will.

“No leader of the APC (All Progressives Congress) did that before, during and after the elections,” he claimed while giving his opinion on Sunrise Daily.

Mr Peterside alleged that the violence that took place during the elections was caused by Rivers State Governor, stressing that he had earlier raised alarm and nothing was done.

“I have said it consistently (and nobody has challenged me) that all of these that happened in Rivers should be placed squarely on the feet of Nyesom Wike.

“He provided incentive, he provided (if I use an agricultural analogy) a manure for the violence we are witnessing in Rivers State and indeed, if nothing is done urgently, this psycho will continue and it will hurt everybody,” he insisted.

In a swift response, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Felix Obuah, refuted the claims, stressing that Governor Wike did his best to uphold peace during the exercise.

“The Governor of Rivers State is a God sent messiah to the people of Rivers State (and) he has done everything possible to bring peace (and) he has supported the law enforcement agents,” he said.

Mr Obuah maintained that the disruption of the polls was planned by the Minister of Transportation, Mr hibuike Amachi, and the APC members in the state.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), Amaechi and his cohort and followers did said that the election that brought Wike was manhandle by the former president (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan) who provided all sorts of security that intimidated APC,” the PDP chairman said while describing the allegation as an irony.

“We want to put on record that every problem that has been happening in recent time in Rivers State is a calculated attempt by Amaechi, Dakuku, (and) Ikanya (the APC Chairman in Rivers State),” he said, stressing that the state is peaceful and the residents are going about their normal business.

687mln Naira Scam: Akpobolokemi Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAA former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, has challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, to entertain his trial.

Defence Counsel of Mr Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, on Monday questioned the competence of the court to preside over the case.

Mr Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside five others on a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds, to the tune of 687, 294, 680 Naira.

His co-accused persons are Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

Nwobike hinged his objection to the jurisdiction of the court on claims that, “only the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters and cases arising from, pertaining to, or connected with the revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies”.

He was joined by Counsel to the fourth defendant, Ige Asemudara, who also brought an application for preliminary objection before the court.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Raliat Adebiyi, ordered the Defense Counsels to consolidate their applications.

Meanwhile, Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Oyedepo, brought two witnesses to court for commencement of trial but could not present them, owing to the preliminary objection to the court’s jurisdiction by the defence.

Justice Adebiyi subsequently adjourned the matter till March 9 for arguments on pending applications before the court.