Former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Temisan Omatseye has expressed sadness with the procedure so far adopted, in his trial, particularly over the alleged N271million fraud, over which he perceived as being persecuted.
The suspended Director General’s lawyer, Edoka Onyeke indicated that Temisan Omatseye was more or less, being prosecuted unjustly.
Arguing before Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, Onyeke also objected to a fresh adjournment requested for by the prosecution lawyer, Godwin Obla, pointing out that the ground on which the prosecution lawyer was seeking for another adjournment had, absolutely nothing to do with the reason for his client’s being in court.
Obla, had opened his defense, on Monday June 1,2015, to cross examine the accused, only to request for an adjournment on the ground that he needed to produce in court the NIMASA procedural manual which did or did not give the director general of the agency the power to sign and endorse every contract document brought to his table.
Omatseye while answering questions posed to him by the EFCC lawyer had pointed out that his signature has to be in every file document brought to him for approval, insisting that some documents in File PD16A before are missing.
He argued that for a file to be complete, his signature had to be on that file, six times.
“My Lord, I had mentioned in my earlier statement that for a file to be complete, my signature must appear there six times”, he explained, expressing his bewilderment on the missing documents.
Responding to his insistence on the missing files, Ofili-Ajumogobia requested that he should single out the files that were missing in the court documents; to which he identified some important files that led to the final approval and also, the scope of the contract not in the court file.
“My Lord, even the approval letter, the contract form which had the scope of work is not in this file before me.
“Also not in this file are letter from the contractor requesting for payment after the contract must have been carried out; letter minuted to the executive director, ED, Finance; letter from the audit department to me as the director general of NIMASA for clearance and that from the maintenance department ascertaining if it was supplied and good for payment are all not in the file my lord”, Omatseye told the now bewildered court.
Asked if the missing documents take away his approving powers, Omatseye pointed out that though they did not take away his approving powers, they however help in establishing the justification for his approving the said contracts.
“The idea that my signature should appear six times in all the documents is procedural in NIMASA. Without my signature being seen on the documents, it cannot move to the next level.
“It shows that the said document has come to my table as the director general of the agency and I have seen it. It is part of the operational manual in the agency which I met on ground when I was appointed the director general of NIMASA”, he explained further.
Deflated by the answers given, Obla who a day before had noted that the suspended director general of NIMASA ran the agency democratically in the manner scheduled and that the bidding was approved by the Parastatal Tenders Board, PTB, chaired by Omatseye,, requested to see the agency’s director general’s manual.
Still in defense of his actions, Omatseye argued that the said manual was not made by him; that it was operational before he was appointed as DG of the agency.
“There is a standard in the agency which I had to follow”, he emphasized.
Effort by Obla, who argued that the case be adjourned for him to produce the manual in court was objected to by, Omatseye’s lawyer, Onyeke who insisted that what the prosecution council was attempting to introduce is new to the court.
He maintained that they were there for approval above his threshold and not procedures for endorsing the signature of his client.
“My Lord, this has nothing to do with the reason we are in court. The adjournment should be rejected in its entirety. The prosecutor should not change the reason why we are here. It is a criminal trial and not persecution as it is going on now. We are here for Justice and to prove that my client did not approve contract above his threshold.
“If the manual comes here, it does not deny the fact that we are here for charges of approving above his threshold and not following the NIMASA manual”, he argued further.
In the meantime, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia has however fixed further hearing to July 1-2, 2015.

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