Justice Rita Ofili-
Ajumogobia of a Federal High Court in Lagos last Monday dismissed a no-case submission by Raymond Omatseye, who was charged with contract scam.
Omatseye, former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), is standing trial on an amended 27-count charge bordering on contract scam.
He is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ofili-Ajumogobia, while dismissing the application for a no-case submission by the accused, ordered him to answer to the charges leveled against him.
Our correspondent reports that Omatseye was re-arraigned on Jan. 21, 2013, on the amended charge.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail.
The prosecution, led by Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), had opened its case on Feb. 4, 2013, and called three witnesses.
All the witnesses had given various testimonies before the court, as to the nature and form of contract awarded by the accused while serving as the Director-General of NIMASA.
Obla closed the case for the prosecution on October 13, 2014.
Our correspondent reports that at the close of the prosecution’s case, the accused had brought forward a no-case submission, on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove its case against him.
Defence counsel, Mr Olusina Sofola (SAN), arguing the application on behalf of his client, had urged the court to discharge and acquit the accused in accordance with Section 286 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Sofola had argued that all counts of the charge save for counts 21 and 22, should be struck out as being incompetent.
He had argued that the act of awarding the contracts was omitted from the counts, noting that the offence is actually the award of the contract, and not the approval of the contract.
Besides, Sofola had argued that Exhibit PD 16 Z , otherwise known as the “approved revised threshold” for service-wide application, which contained the revised monetary threshold, had no commencement date and so was unreliable.
He said that it must be showed that the revised monetary threshold was in force at the time the accused was alleged to have contravened the Public Procurement Act.
Sofola had, therefore, urged the court to uphold the no-case submission and discharge and acquit the accused.
Delivering her ruling on the no-case submission, Ofili-Ajumogobia, however, held that it was an abject misconception for the accused to contend that the offence was committed when the award was actually made.
NSC Boss Warns Maritime Agencies Against Unhealthy Rivalries
The Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, has warned agencies in the maritime sector to avoid superiority rivalry, saying it has done the industry more harm than good.
He also advised heads of maritime agencies to avoid cosmetic cooperation and come together for the development of the industry.
Bello gave this warning at a sent-forth ceremony organised in his honour, last Friday.
Bello bowed out of service last Friday after eight years of service.
He was appointed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2013. Before his appointment, he was the Director, Legal Services of the NSC.
Bello noted that some agencies spent so much in defending their territories while neglecting their statutory mandates.
According to him, “There is lack of synergy among the agencies and I don’t think it is succeeding because it has been the basis of equality. There is no agency that is better than the other.
“Agencies are not graded by their budgets but what they contribute, but it is very unfortunate some agencies think that maritime starts and stops with them. No, it cannot work.
“Some agencies are trying to defend territories and in doing so, they go to a large extent and that is not good. They spend a lot of money to defend these territories while they neglect what they are established to do and that’s why we are not developing and that’s what Nigerian Shippers’ Council will never take from anybody not now, tomorrow or forever. We are all equal, we all have contributions to make.
“We can’t be having cosmetic cooperation, we have to have real cooperation”.
Bello said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had undergone a lot of transformations, saying the era of state capture was over.
He lauded the Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors of the Ministry for giving the Council the opportunity to achieve a lot through their supports.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Okowa Seeks Permanent Site For Maritime Varsity
The Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to develop the permanent site of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko.
Okowa made the call while playing host to the Governing Council of the university during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba.
He said the establishment of a permanent campus would go a long way in putting the university on a sound footing, and ultimately enable it to deliver on its core mandate of imparting sound maritime-related education on students.
The governor said he was happy that the institution took off academic activities at the temporary site but urged the Federal Government to make resources available for the construction of buildings and provision of amenities that would enhance academic activities.
He noted that the birth of the special educational institution for the training of manpower in the maritime sector had strengthened peace and the economy of riverine communities.
Okowa advocated the need for more projects to be sited in riverine areas because of the inputs of riverine areas to the economy of the nation.
“We thank God that the Maritime University has started even when we have challenges because we do know that the take-off of the university brought good news to our people and helped us to build peace, particularly in our riverine areas”, he said.
Earlier, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the university, Dr Elias Courson, commended Governor Okowa for his inspiring and magnanimous support towards the take-off and continued development of the university.
He also thanked the governor for establishing three additional universities in the state, which would provide additional access to quality education not only to Deltans but to Nigerians.
Dr Courson, however, appealed to Okowa to assist the university in completing the renovation/ remodelling of the classroom blocks, construction of additional staff quarters and provision of a potable water scheme in the campus.
By: Chinedu Wosu
2022 Nations Cup: S’Eagles To Travel To Cameroon By Boat
The Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) says it will convey the Super Eagles of Nigeria by boat to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup.
Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Abdullah Balogun, stated this in a statement.
“We plan to take Nigeria’s Super Eagles to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup after achieving that of Benin Republic — this is a goal we have set for ourselves”, Balogun said.
LAGFERRY said they considered the boat trip following the success recorded in the Benin experience.
He said, “It was a major milestone for us to transport Nigeria’s national team to the Benin Republic through the waterways.
“Coming on board LAGFERRY through the international route to the Benin Republic is a mind-blowing experience. We were excited to be part of it”.
The LAGFERRY boss said the success recorded in the Benin game, where the Eagles won 1-0 away, was as a result of the trouble-free trip.
“It reflected on the field of play and it showed on their (players) performances because they came out victorious in the game,” he said.
Balogun said the players, during next year’s boat trip, would enjoy free Wi-Fi, USB pots and a lot of entertainment and side attractions enabled by technology.
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