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Witness absolves ex-NIMASA DG of contract splitting, bid rigging

15122015C Temisan OmatseyeA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos was, yesterday, told that former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Director-General, Raymond Omatseye, awarded contracts in accordance with the Procurement Act.

Omatseye is standing trial on an amended 27-count charge of alleged bid rigging.

At the resumed hearing in the case, a subpoenaed witness, Mr Abdulahi Mohammed, from the Federal Ministry of Justice, told the court that all contracts awarded by the accused were within the threshold allowed by the Act.
Led in evidence by defence counsel, Mr Edoka Onyeke, the witness said that on February 13, 2013, a letter was received from the office of the Chief of Staff.

He said that the letter urged the Attorney-General of the Federation to act on a letter it received from the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, which absolved Omatseye of approving contracts above his threshold.

“The letter, which was signed by Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, was received, stamped and forwarded to the former Attorney-General of the Federation. The A-G minuted it to the Solicitor- General who forwarded same to the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP.

“The DPP in turn, minuted same to a lawyer for action as is done in the ministry,” he said

The witness, however, told the court that when the file came back to him, it was marked “keep in view.”

He said that the file remained there, until it was subpoena by the Federal High Court, Lagos.

According to the witness, an internal memo with reference number BPP/PRES/2013/04 noted that all procurement by the accused were within the approved thresholds of NIMASA.

After listening to the witness, the court adjourned the case to February 22, 2016 for continuation.

The accused is charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, with contract splitting and bid rigging to the tune of N1.5 billion.

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