Ex-NIMASA boss didn’t benefit from contracts, says witness

A prosecution witness in the trial of former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Raymond Omatseye, has said the accused did not financially benefit from contracts awarded during his days is office.

The witness, Ibrahim Ahmed, an Investigating Police Officer with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told a Federal High Court in Lagos that investigation did not reveal that Omatseye financially benefited from the contracts.

Ahmed, who was cross examined last Friday by defence lawyer,Olusina Sofola (SAN), said the contracts were approved by the agency’s board.

He referred to a memo indicating that the chairman of NIMASA’s board, Senator Baba Tella, directed that quotations for the contracts be submitted for approval.

When asked whether his investigation could not establish that there was a submission of quotations for the contracts, Ahmed said on page 17b of the memo (tendered before the court), the chairman of NIMASA board told the ex-DG to bring up quotations to board for final approval.

Ahmed, who told the court in an earlier testimony that contracts were split by NIMASA to avoid exceeding the DG’s approval threshold, said he did not investigate the companies that benefited from the contracts and others that bidded.

On claim that there was manipulation in the contract award process, Ahmed said he could not establish that because he could not reach the companies.

Asked if, in the course of his investigation, he discovered that the companies met to agree on the bid they were to submit, Ahmed answered in the negative.

He said the companies’ quotations were not shown to him and that there was no other memo that stated that the quotations were submitted.

Omatseye is being tried on a charge of 27 counts, containing allegations of contract splitting, bid rigging and allegedly awarding contracts exceeding the threshold allowed a D.G. by the Public Procurement Act, while he was in office.

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