Maritime Advocacy Group faults EFCC Chairman on conviction of ex-NIMASA DG

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Temisan Omatseye
The Maritime Advocacy Group has faulted the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, on his statement with respect to the recent conviction of  Mr Temisan Omatseye, a former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

The former NIMASA boss was convicted by the Federal High Court in Lagos for five years prison sentence over a N1.5billion contract scam.
Madu had counted the conviction as one of the 14O convictions the Commission had recorded as an achievement in the past six months.
In a statement, the President of Maritime Advocacy Group, Ifeanyi Okolie, and Secretary, Kayode Animashun, said the EFCC chairman failed to state what transpired at the Federal High Court.
Notably, the group said that the former NIMASA boss was not in any way found guilty of any fraud or any other criminal offence.
Describing the judgment as one likened to persecution, the group also pointed out that no money belonging to NIMASA was found in Omatseye’s bank account.
Omatseye was found guilty of approving contracts above his threshold, which he has already appealed against.
According to the statement, “we expected the chairman of the Nation’s anti-graft Agency to have called for the Judgment file or sort the opinion of his legal team on the judgment before coming out to misinform Nigerians, the media and the general public on a case ‘that is more of a persecution than prosecution.”
“It is pertinent to note that NOWHERE IN THE JUDGEMENT IS TEMISAN OMATSEYE FOUND GUILTY OF ANY FRAUD. NOT TO TALK OF MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS. NO WHERE AGAIN WAS IT MENTIONED THAT HE WAS GUILTY OF ANY CRIMINAL OFFENCE.
“As a matter of fact, MAG WHICH HAD FOLLOWED PROCEEDINGS OF THE TRIAL NOTES THAT THE EFCC’s IPO IN HIS STATEMENT AND EVIDENCE STATED THAT NO FUND BELONGING TO NIMASA WAS TRACED TO THE EMBATTLED FORMER DG’s BANK ACCOUNTS.
“For Record purposes, Justice Rita Ofilli-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos, found him guilty of APPROVING CONTRACTS ABOVE HIS THRESHOLD. A MATTER ALREADY SUBJECT TO APPEAL.
“MAG further notes that Temisan Omatseye had always stated in his statements and in court proceedings that THE SAID THRESHOLD WAS NEVER OFFICIALLY TRANSMITTED TO HIM AS AT THE TIME THE SAID CONTRACTS WERE AWARDED.
“IT IS ALSO PERTINENT TO NOTE THAT AT NO TIME WAS THERE ANY N1.5BILLION FRAUD. THIS FIGURE, TO MAG, IS A FIGMENT OF THE IMAGINATION OF HIS PERSECUTORS.
“AS A MATTER OF FACT THE EMBATTLED FORMER DG OF NIGERIA’S MARITIME REGULATORY BODY AS AT THE TIME HE WAS SUSPENDED FROM OFFICE LEFT MORE THAN N52billion IN NIMASA’s ACCOUNT.
“ AN AMOUNT HE GREWED FROM N20billion HIS PREDECESSOR LEFT IN THE AGENCY’s COFFERS.
“According to the evidences in the COURT AND FROM THE 27 COUNT CHARGE AGAINST HIM, THE AMOUNT WHEN COMPUTED COMES TO ABOUT N90million AND NOT THE N1.5bn THE PUBLIC IS MADE TO BELIEVE.
“Therefore, MAG, after having thoroughly followed the case to this point calls on Ibrahim Magu, hardworking chairman of the EFCC and indeed the general public to always get their facts right before issuing statements.
MAG which believes in objective and factual reportage will continue to preach a zero tolerance to corruption in the Maritime industry.”