Following numerous cases of frauds swirling in the agency, Mr. Raymond Omatseye who is the ex Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has been convicted over a N1.5 billion contract scam during his term in office.
The Lagos Federal High Court Judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia issued the sentence on Friday on a 27-count charges of bid rigging and contract splitting, leveled upon the accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court said Omatseye was found guilty in counts 1-20, 23, 24 and 26, while he was freed on counts 21, 22, and 27. He was sentenced to 5 years on each of the counts without an option of fine.
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 keep in mind 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.
The accused Mr. Omatseye in exhibit Pd 1 and 2 had 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.
In that counts, he (Prosecutor) urged the court to so hold, and convict the accused accordingly. But lawyer to the accused, Mr Edoka Onyeke, in defense of his client, urged the court to discountenance the arguments of prosecution and dismiss the charge against the accused.
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.
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 pleaded with the court to acquit his client.
The judge, in his sentence, sent Omatseye to prison, for five years.