A former Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director-General, Temisan Omatseye, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he did not know when the Procurement Act, which provides for a tenders board, came into effect.
Omatseye, who is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC ) for alleged fraud and contracts rigging or splitting, also told the court presided over by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia that there was no Tenders Board at NIMASA throughout his tenure as the DG.
The former NIMASA was arraigned by the EFCC on an amended 27-count charges of contract scam.
He was accused of contract splitting involving about N1.5 billion, which violates Section 58(4) (d) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and Section 14(a) of the money laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
While being cross-examined by counsel to the EFCC, Godwin Obla (SAN), Omatseye claimed that all contracts awarded under his tenure followed due process.
According to him, some of the contracts were for office equipment such as generating sets, computers, printers, BlackBerry smartphones, among others.
The accused person also said that between September 2009 and April 2010, there was no Tenders Board at NIMASA.
He said he was unaware of the need for a Tenders Board because the law was not brought to the agency’s attention.
Omatseye further claimed, “The Procurement Act was not known to the agency. That’s why everything was going through the governing board in line with the NIMASA Act.
“All the contracts were advertised. When I was the Director-General, and coming from private sector, I ensured that extant guidelines were followed. We ensure that everything was advertised.”
When Obla confronted Omatseye with the fact that a particular contract was awarded for N129million to a company that bidded N100million, when another company had bidded N84million, the defendant said he later cancelled the contract.
“The statements by myself and MK Shehu (his Director of Procurement) categorically stated that this contract was cancelled,” he said.