N1.5bn scam: Judgement on Ex-NIMASA DG Adjourned

N1.5bn scam: Judgement on Ex-NIMASA DG Adjourned

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday has again reserved judgement till May 20 in a criminal case filed against former Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Raymond Omatseye, charged with N1.5 billion contract scam.

Omatseye is charged 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 judgement 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 judgement 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, had in his address urged the court to discountenance the arguments of prosecution and dismiss the charge against his client.

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

Onyeke said that out of the 27-count-charge 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 noted 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 urged the court to discharge his client.

The prosecutor, Mr. Godwin Obla, on the other hand 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 had submitted that the facts of the case spoke volumes.

He had argued that the accused in exhibit Pd 1 and 2 clearly articulated his threshold for goods as not exceeding N2.5million, and for works as not exceeding N5million.

Obla said 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.

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

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