Former NIMASA DG Omatseye Appeals Conviction, Seeks Bail

Raymond Omatseye, Court, ScamA former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Raymond Omatseye, has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to grant him bail pending the determination of his appeal against his conviction.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court had on May 20, sentenced him to a prison term of five years for awarding contracts above the threshold while in office.

Mr Omatseye, who is challenging the verdict, is asking the court to grant him bail pending the determination of an appeal he lodged at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.

According to him, given the number of years it takes to prosecute appeals, it is likely that he could have finished serving the prison term by the time the appeal would be determined.

Besides, Omatseye said he was a father of four children, one of whom was very ill and suffered from “severe medical conditions of epilepsy”.

He said his wife stayed full time in London with the sick child to enable him get proper medical attention.

The former NIMASA DG claimed that in his wife’s absence, he had been providing parental care to the remaining three children in Nigeria.

Mr Omatseye assured the court that he would not run away if granted bail.

He said he was always in court during trial, adding that he was granted bail after his arraignment on self-recognition, having been a lawyer for 28 years.

But, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said the issues raised by Mr Omatseye ought to be determined by the appellate court, adding that the reasons for the post-bail application “are based on appeal to pity and extraneous circumstances”.

The prosecution said bail after conviction was only granted on the basis of very special and exceptional circumstances.

“In the present application, no exceptional or very special circumstances have been shown to entitle the applicant to bail pending appeal.

“The applicant has failed to show any special circumstances or reason to enable this honourable court to exercise its discretion in its favour and admit the applicant to bail.

“We, therefore, urge this honourable court to dismiss the application,” the EFCC said.

Justice Ofili-Ajumogibia has adjourned the case till June 6 for ruling.

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.

N1.5b Contract Scam: EFCC Closes Case In Trial of Ex NIMASA D-G, Omatseye

EFCC_IkuforijiThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, closed its case before a Federal High Court in Lagos, in the trial of Raymond Omatseye, charged with contract scam.

Omatseye, a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), is standing trial on an amended 27-count charge of alleged contract scam.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge, and was granted bail.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the prosecutor, Godwin Obla (SAN) informed the court that he had closed the case for the prosecution, having called three witnesses.

In response, Defence Counsel, Mr Olusina Sofola (SAN) quickly informed the court of the defence’s intention to file an application for a no case submission before the court.

Obla in reply, pointed out that the prosecution also had a right to respond to the application of defence, adding that he had 14 days to do so.

After listening to the submissions of counsels, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia ruled that she would hear both the application for no case submission, and the response of prosecution on the return date.

She adjourned the case to Dec. 2 for arguments.

Omatseye was re-arraigned on Jan. 21, 2013.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail.

The prosecution had opened its case on Feb. 4, 2013, by calling on its first witness, Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, an Investigating Police Officer with the EFCC.

On May 30, 2013, Obla called his second witness, Mr Mohammed Shehu, a former acting Director of Procurement in NIMASA.

The third witness is Mr Aminu Aliyu, a staff of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

All witnesses had given various testimonies before the court, as to the nature and form of contract, awarded by the accused, while serving as D-G of NIMASA.

In the charge, the accused was said to have been involved in contract splitting and bid rigging estimated at over N1.5 billion.

The offence contravenes the provisions of sections 58 (4) (d) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

It also contravenes the provisions of sections 14 (a) of the money laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.