Alleged scam: Appeal Court overturns ex-NIMASA DG’s conviction

Temisan Raymond Omatseye
  • As Delta Assembly impeaches speaker, elects Oborevwori as replacement

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has overturned the five-year conviction of a former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director-General, Temisan Raymond Omatseye for alleged N1.5billion contract scam.

The court set aside the May 20, 2016 judgment of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia which convicted Omatseye on a 27- count charge bordering on bid rigging and contract splitting.

It held, among others, that the trial court did not properly evaluate the evidence.

Justice Yagata Nimpar, who read the judgment, admonished the prosecution not to “ride roughshod over the Constitution.”

She said: “The long and short of it is that, the appeal succeeds.

“The judiciary will do the war on corruption more harm by declaring someone a criminal, where no offence has been committed

“I find merit in the appeal. The he conviction is hereby set aside and the appellant is hereby discharged and acquitted.”

The appellant’s family and kinsmen, who were at the court in their numbers, erupted in jubilation after the judgment was delivered.

In the meantime, the Speaker, Delta House of Assembly, Chief Monday Igbuya, was on Thursday, impeached by members of the house.

His removal at plenary presided by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Friday Asanebi, was predicated on allegations of incompetence, highhandedness and unacceptable leadership style by the lawmakers.

Igbuya, who represents Sapele constituency, was replaced by Mr Sheriff Oborevwori, of Okpe constituency, who was immediately elected by the members.

Motion for the impeachment of the speaker was unanimously adopted by all 22 members present at plenary after it was moved by Mr Johnson Erijo (Isoko South II) and seconded by Peter Onwusanya (Oshimili South).

The remaining seven members, including the impeached speaker, of the 29-member assembly, were absent at the proceedings.

Moving the motion, Erijo said that the removal of Igbuya became necessary following his incompetence, highhandedness and unacceptable leadership style.

He added that for the assembly to move forward, a new speaker was needed as the legislature was key to the growth of democracy and development of the state.

The new speaker was nominated by Onwusanya and Mr Daniel Mayuku of Warri South-West constituency. After his election, Oboriowori was immediately sworn in by the Clerk of the House, Mrs Lyna Ocholor.

In his acceptance speech, Oborevwori promised to adhere to the rules of House, saying that though he had become the first among equals, he would accord every member his due respect.

He assured that he would not allow the integrity of the assembly to be eroded, and called for support of members.

Oborevwori immediately announced the dissolution of all standing committees of the House.

It was reported that the House also impeached the Majority Leader, Mr Tim Owhefere, and elected Johnson Erijo as his replacement.

Owhefere’s removal followed a motion by Onwusanya and seconded by Mr Peter Uviejitobor (Udu constituency).

After his election, the new majority leader immediately moved a motion for the suspension of the impeached speaker and the majority leader for three months.

The motion, which was unanimously adopted, was seconded by Mr Eric Oharisi (Ughelli North II).

Additional report from Nation