Contract Variation: Court reserves ruling on Ex -NIMASA boss no-case submission.

COURT HAMMER

Justice Rita-Ofili Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi,Lagos has reserved ruling till January 26, 2015, on an application for a no case submission, filed by a former Director -General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Raymond Temisan Omatseye.

The judge reserved the ruling based on the submissions of counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Godwin Obla, SAN, who, on Tuesday, told the court that Omatseye had been directly linked to the charges brought against him by the EFCC. “The accused person has been sufficiently and severally linked to the offences for which he is being prosecuted and this is not an issue to over-flog because the accused person wrote it in his statement at the EFCC office and in his own hand writing that his threshold for goods is N2.5million and works N5million” he said.

But the defence counsel, Sina Sofola, SAN, argued that “the law under which the accused person was charged, did not state what the threshold was and there was no date as to when that document was enforced. Besides , the Public Procurement Act did not state that this particular amount is the threshold”. He also pointed out that, “the motion seeking to discharge the accused is on the grounds that he has no case to answer, as the prosecution has not been able to establish what the legislation was when the contracts were awarded, this is In addition to the motion moved in the application, affidavits and a written address in support of the no case submission”.

Obla immediately prayed the court to discountenance the arguments of the defence counsel to dismiss the charge against the accused person, but further hinged his argument on the entire 49-paged affidavit that vehemently opposed the application filed by Omatseye. According to Obla , “prosecution witness 1, meticulously demonstrated to this court, how the accused person committed the offences contained in each of the counts before this court, and prosecution witness 3, an expert in the field of procurement, also used the exhibits before this court to show how these offences were committed by the accused. With profound respect, it is late in the day for the accused person to raise an objection to the charges now, since he never raised same when the charges were read to him and upon arraignment before this court, pleaded not guilty to all the counts. This presupposes that he understood the charge that was read to him”, he stressed.

Omatseye is being prosecuted by the EFCC on charges bordering on contract variation, bid rigging and violation of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act by awarding contracts above his approval limit.

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