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ALLEGED CORRUPTION: NIMASA OFFICIAL SAYS EX-BOSS APPROVED TRANSFER OF 300,000 EUROS

By NBF News
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A former director in the Finance Department of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that former director general of NIMASA, Temisan Omatseye allegedly, approved the transfer of €300,000 belonging to the agency.

Omatseye was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako on an 11-count charge of money laundering, illegal transfer of funds and contract splitting.

Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, prosecution witness, Bularma Jarma, who was the director of finance during Omatseye's tenure as NIMASA DG, stated that Omatseye approved the transfer of the said money. According to him, the money was allegedly moved from one NIMASA account at Barclays Bank in London to another NIMASA account.

He explained that in the first account, the money could not be spent but that in the second account, the money could be spent. He said a memo for release of money for expenditure, which led to the transfer of the said money was sent to the DG and was later forwarded to the director of finance and adminstration. But he stated that one could not make a transfer for expenditure except through ministerial approval.

He noted that the approval limits for the DG was less than N2.5 million for services and less than N5 million for works.

However, while being cross-examined by the defence counsel, the witness stated that the normal procedure for the award of contracts for NIMASA was followed.

He added that out of the €300,000, he was only aware of the spending of €26,000 which he said was for the rent of office accommodation. Jarma noted that he would not know if the rest of the money was spent by the defendant.

Earlier in the proceedings, EFCC witness, Ahmed Ibrahim, had concluded his testimony before the court.

Omatseye is alleged to have been involved in contract splitting, illegal transfer of funds and unlawful approvals during his reign as the head of the agency. He was said to have, between 2009 and 2010, caused to be transferred from NIMASA's Barclays Bank account in London, the sum of £300,000 (without lawful approval, purportedly to fund the campaign of one Mrs. Mbanefo as secretary general of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The alleged offence is punishable under Section 14(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 Laws of the federation of Nigeria.