Alleged N1.5 bn Contract Scam:Court Decides Ex-NIMASA DG; Omatseye’s fate On May 20

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A Lagos Federal High Court, today, adjourned till May 20, for judgment in a criminal case against a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Raymond Omatseye, who was charged with N1.5 billion contract scam before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Omatseye was charged before the court by the EFCC on a 27 count charge bordering on bid rigging and contract splitting.

The judgment which was originally fixed for today, 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.

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

During the trial of the criminal case, the prosecutor, Godwin Obla (SAN) had urged the court to hold that the case of the prosecution was “as clear as daylight, and had also been proven beyond reasonable doubt’’.

Obla (SAN), had submitted that the facts of the case spoke volumes. While argued that the accused in exhibit Pd 1 and 2 clearly articulated his threshold for goods as not exceeding N2. 5 million and for works as not exceeding N5 million.

The prosecutor had informed the court that count 25 of the charge which dealt on threshold was straightforward, adding that sufficient evidence had been adduced to show that the accused awarded contracts above thresholds.

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

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

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

He had informed the court that out of the 27-count-charge against client, 25 dealt strictly with the issue of approval of contract above the threshold while the remaining two were on bid rigging.

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He also stated 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.

He had therefore urged the court to discharge his client.

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