Omatseye, ex-NIMASA boss knows fate soon

Omatseye, ex-NIMASA boss knows fate soon

Monday, March 14, 2016 6:01 pm

Raymond Omatseye

Raymond Omatseye

A Federal High Court, Lagos, on Monday reserved its judgment in the trial of Raymond Omatseye , a former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Omatseye is facing trial over alleged bid rigging and N1.5bn contract scam filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2010.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the 27-count charge and had been granted bail on self recognition.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia reserved judgment in the trial after lawyers to the prosecution, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) and the defence,

Mr Edoka Onyeke adopted their final addresses.

The judge said that the date for judgment would be communicated to parties.

Onyeke, had in his address urged the court to discountenance the arguments of prosecution and dismiss the charge against his client.
He argued that the prosecution had not been able to proof its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Onyeke said that out of the 27-count-charge against the accused, 25 dealt strictly with the issue of approval of contract above the threshold while the remaining two were on bid rigging.

He noted that the prosecution did not proof 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.

“The exhibit was silent about its commencement date and we know that a law must have a commencement date,’’ he said.

On the issue of bid rigging, Onyeke argued that by the provision of sections 58 (10) (a) of the Public Procurement Act, the offence of bid rigging cannot be committed by a single individual.

He argued that throughout the length of trial, the prosecution failed to call any witness to proof the alleged collusion of the accused to commit bid rigging.

“It is not logical or legal for an accused to connive with himself to commit the offence of rigging a bid.

“The offence of bid rigging was never proved by the prosecution, and I submit that it is impossible for the court to convict the accused on the said offence,’’ he said.

Onyeke urged the court to discharge and acquit his Client.

Obla, on the other hand, urged the court to hold that the case of the prosecution was “as clear as daylight, and has been proven beyond reasonable doubt’’.

On the issue of failure of prosecution to lead evidence as to conspiracy to commit bid rigging, Obla submitted that the facts of the case spoke volumes.

He argued that the accused in exhibit Pd 1 and 2 clearly articulated his threshold for goods as not exceeding N2.5m and for works as not exceeding N5m.

Obla said the 25 of the charges which dealt on threshold was straightforward, adding that sufficient evidence had been adduced to show that the accused awarded contracts above thresholds.

“The contract for generators is a very graphic example; the company, to which the contract for the supply of generators was awarded, was not even pre-qualified.

“The lowest bid for that contract was N89m but the company to which the contract was eventually awarded, bided N100million.

“That contract was eventually awarded to that company for a total sum of N129m which was over and above what was bided; this is graphic representation of bid rigging,’’ he said.

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