By Innocent Anaba
Former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Director-General, Mr Raymond Omatseye, has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, to grant him bail pending the determination of his appeal against his conviction.
It will be recalled that Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the same court had, on May 20, sentenced him to five years imprisonment and dismissed him from public service for awarding contracts above threshold while in office.
Omatseye, who is challenging the verdict, is praying the court to grant him bail pending the determination of his appeal before the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos.
He is contending that given the number of years it takes to prosecute appeals, it was likely that he could have finished serving the prison term by the time the appeal was determined.
Omatseye is further contending that he is a father of four children, one of whom is very ill and suffers from “severe medical conditions of epilepsy, atypical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with mitral regurgitation, artrial fibrillation, enuresis, severe learning difficulties and development delays.”
According to him, his wife stays full time in London with the sick child to enable him get proper medical attention and in his wife’s absence, he has been providing parental care to the remaining three children in Nigeria.
Omatseye said he will not run away if granted bail, adding that he was always in court during trial, even though he was granted bail after his arraignment on self-recognition, having been a lawyer for 28 years.
Opposing the bail application, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,argued that the issues raised by Omatseye ought to be determined by the appellate court, adding that the reasons for the post-bail application “are based on appeal to pity and extraneous circumstances.”
The prosecution argued that “In the present application, no exceptional or very special circumstances have been shown to entitle the applicant to bail pending appeal.
“The applicant has failed to show any special circumstances or reason to enable this honourable court to exercise its discretion in its favour and admit the applicant to bail.
“We, therefore, urged this court to dimiss the application,” EFCC said.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogibia adjourned to June 6 for ruling