A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos and presided over by Justice Rita-Ofili Ajumogobia was on Tuesday November 10, 2015, told that a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Raymond Temisan Omatseye who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC, on charges bordering on contract variation and bid rigging, actually approved the procurement of Black Berry Smart phones to a company that was not pre-qualified for the contract.
In a cross examination, EFCC counsel , Godwin Obla, SAN, told the court that even though a shortlisted company, Marine Gold Services bided for the phones at the cost of N84million, Omatseye gave his approval to Daniel Holdings Limited at an inflated rate of N129million, even though the company sent in a bid for N100 million. “A mysterious name magically showed up to bid for a contract that it was not pre qualified for, and Omatseye chose to approve the contract for that supply to the mysterious company, Daniel Holdings limited, in excess of the amount that the mysterious company bided for”, Obla said
But Omatseye quickly informed the court that the contract was eventually cancelled.
Obla further told the court that contrary to Omatseye’s claim, that he wasn’t privy to the document that stipulated the various threshold allowed a Director General by the Federal Government, a circular dated March 11, 2009, which emanated from the office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation was circulated to that effect on a date that preceded the contract award dates.
“The heading on this document reads: IMPLEMENTATION OF APPROVED REVISED THRESHOLD FOR SERVICE-WIDE APPLICATION TO THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF PETROLEUM FOR EXPENDITURE RELATED TO THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, NNPC, PROCUREMENT METHODS AND THRESHOLDS OF APPLICATION AND THE COMPOSITION OF TENDERS BOARDS. The witness told the court that he became aware of his threshold as Director General in August 2010, but the circular was in 2009, that is why I am bringing it in as exhibit and cross -examination gives me the opportunity to do that. This document therefore being a certified true copy, I therefore tender it in this matter.” Obla said. The court then admitted the document as exhibit.
Still on the BlackBerry procurement, Obla again asked Omatseye “did you advertise properly for the Blackberry contract on the NIMASA website and notice board as well as in the newspaper? And if you did, where is the advert for the Blackberry procurement?
But Omatseye’s response was “I do not have it”. Obla then asked Omatseye “Do you know that if you do not advertise properly for others to participate appropriately, you have rigged the bid?”
Omatseye insisted that he ensured that extant laws were followed and that due processes was observed. “We ensured that everything went publicly”, he said.
When asked again if he got the approval of the Parastatals Tenders Board or the Ministerial Tenders Board, Omatseye again responded that he did not. “No, I did not” he said.
Justice Rita-Ofili Ajumogobia then adjourned to December 8 and 9, 2015, for the prosecution to conclude its cross-examination and for the defence counsel Barr. E. D. Onyeke to re-examine the witness.