How AGF Plotted His Suspension
- I Left N52 Billion In Fixed Deposit Account – Omatseye
A former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Temisan Omatseye has opened can of worms as he defends himself in the ongoing N1.5 billion Naira fraud case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC).
He made the revelations at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi while giving accounts of what led to his arrest by the EFCC even as he added that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke was only persecuting him over refusal to withdraw the case between NIMASA and Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) as the DG of NIMASA.
While giving the background of what led to his arrest before Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, Omatseye said that the agency was generating 11 Million Naira monthly before he became the DG and within three months of his ascension as DG, he pushed the revenue to 15 Million Naira.
As a result of the increased revenue, he said he left N52 billion in the fixed deposit account of the agency before he was suspended in December, 2010.
Narrating his ordeal, he maintained that he is only being persecuted by the Attorney General of the Federation for refusing to withdraw the case between NIMASA and NLNG as instructed by the AGF.
“In October 2010, I was approached by a gentleman who at the time was the Executive Director, Cabotage Services of NIMASA, Ibrahim Zelaini. He told me that he had been in a meeting with the Attorney General of the Federation and he said I should withdraw the case between NIMASA and NLNG and I said to him I am unable to withdraw the case because it was a board decision.
“On November 14, 2010, between 12 noon and 1 pm, I received a call from a man called Tunde Ayeni and said ‘hold on for your brother’ and handed the phone to Mohammed Adoke, who now said ‘I sent Zelaini to you to withdraw the NLNG case and you have refused’, he said Mr. President had called me (Adoke) twice on this matter to instruct you to withdraw the case.
“I said to him, AGF sir, either you please send me a memo to that effect or send a message through my minister to direct me accordingly. I am not in a position to withdraw the case and he said he was the chief law officer of the federation and was giving a directive,” he said.
Speaking further, he maintained that he pleaded with the AGF to follow the process he told him as the decision to take NLNG to court was not his unilateral decision but that of the board.
Continuing the conversation between them, he added that Adoke asked, “Am I aware there is a directive from my office that no government institution can sue another government institution without my permission? Therein I told him that NLNG is majority-owned by foreigners and it cannot be considered as a government agency. At this moment, he said to me, ‘I have given an instruction and you refused to obey, this will be your waterloo,’ he stated.
Omatseye said that while in his office at 24, Burma Road in Apapa on 24 November, 2010, three EFCC operatives came to his office to whisk him away to Awolowo Road, Ikoyi and thereafter, he was flown to Abuja where he was answering questions posed by the officers of the EFCC and was released three days later.
He however said that the N1.5 Billion fraud allegation of bid rigging and contract splitting raised against him were just to rope him because he refused to do the bidding of the AGF, even as stated that the sum contained in the exhibit against him was N271 million and not the N1.5 billion as claimed.
He posited that at the time the contracts used as charges against him were executed, the threshold was not yet in existence even as he added that his approval limit at that time for supply was N2.5 million while that of Works and Services was N5 million.
He said, “But the charges brought against me were contracts awarded in December, 2009 and the February, 2010 and at the time, the contracts were made, the thresholds were not in existence. I was aware of it in November, 2010 because it was issued in the middle of 2010
However, cross examination in the case has been adjourned to 1st and 2nd of June, 2015.