Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to Ibrahim Magu, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Paragraph two, page two of The Nation newspaper of Saturday May 28, 2016 wherein he stated that “… former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Temisan Raymond Omatseye who got five years for a N1.5billion contract scam, are some of the 140 convictions the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has secured in six months”.
Maritime Advocacy Group, MAG, a coalition of Journalists and critical stakeholders in the Maritime industry, is concerned that the EFCC chairman in the statement failed to state what transpired in the court.
MAG expected the chairman of the Nation’s anti-graft Agency to have called for the Judgement file or sort the opinion of his legal team on the judgement 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 THE AGENCY’S ACCOUNT. AN AMOUNT HE GREWED FROM THE LESS THAN N20billion HIS PREDECESSOR LEFT IN NIMASA’s COFFERS.
According to the evidences in the COURT AND FROM THE 27 COUNT CHARGE AGAINST HIM, THE AMOUNT WHEN COMPUTED CAME TO ABOUT N90million AND NOT THE N1.5bn THE PUBLIC IS BEING MADE TO BELIEVE through unscrupulous press articles.
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.
Secretary General, MAG.
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