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NIMASA ex-DG, Omatseye, knows fate May 20 over N1.5b alleged fraud




A Federal High Court, Lagos is to deliver judgment May 20 in the suit involving the former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Raymond Omatseye.

The accused is standing trial for a N1.5 billion contract scam bordering on a 27-count charge bordering on bid rigging and contract splitting preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The ruling, earlier fixed for yesterday, 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 to return and deliver the judgment on that date.

At the last adjourned date on March 14, counsel representing the prosecution and defence, had both adopted their final written addresses in court.Counsel to the accused, Edoka Onyeke, had in his submission urged the court to discountenance the arguments of prosecution and dismiss the charge against his client.

He had also argued that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.Onyeke said of the 27-count-charge, 25 dealt strictly with the issue of approval of contracts 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 subsequently urged the court to discharge his client.But the prosecutor, Godwin Obla (SAN) on the other hand had prayed 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 exhibits PD 1 and 2 clearly articulated his threshold for goods not exceeding N2.5 million and for works not exceeding N5 million.

Obla said 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, therefore, urged the court to so hold, and convict the accused accordingly.

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