Says Offence Does Not Exist in Law
Barr. Temisan Omatseye, former director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA has appealed against the five years sentence slammed on him by Justice Ofilli-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, last week.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia in her ruling pointed out that Omatseye made approvals above his threshold of N2.5million and so sentenced him to five years imprisonment without an option of fine. She also in her judgment sacked him from the employment of NIMASA. Omatseye has been on suspension from office as director-general since 2010.
Omatseye’s defence counsel, Barr. Edoka Onyeke, who filled appeal argued that his client is being persecuted and not prosecuted, Edoka pointed out that,” yes, contract splitting exist in the law, but approval above threshold does not exist”.
Ofilli-Ajumogobia had in delivering the judgement noted that the embattled former DG of NIMASA who is facing a 27 count charge bordering on contract splitting worth N271 million while he was the boss of the Maritime regulatory agency is on suspension.
Interestingly the controversial judge who had been transferred to Kwara jurisdiction threw out a January 23, 2013 letter from the Bureau of Public Procurement( BPP) which cleared Omatseye of any wrong doing while in the agency.
The letter addressed to former president Goodluck Jonathan, signed by Engr. Emeka Ezeh, former DG of the BPP told the president that after a scrutiny of the case, the Bureau is of the view that the 27 count charge cannot secure conviction as they were brought under sections of the procurement Act that deals with administrative breaches rather than real Offences under the Act that can attract conviction or sanctions from the regular courts.
However in delivering the judgment she jettisoned the report admitted as evidence in court while relying on a secret circular issued in 2007 by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. She discharged and acquitted Omatseye on three count charge bordering on contract splitting while sentencing him to five years imprisonment on 23 count charge of N2.5million approval above his threshold which according to Omatseye lawyer doesn’t exist in law.