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Disquiet at NIMASA as Appeal Court returns Omatseye’s as NIMASA DG

Since Thursday, yesterday evening, there had been anxiety at the 4, Burma Road, Apapa, national headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), following the judgment of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal which overturned the judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos convicting a former DG of the agency, Mr. Raymond Omatseye, and sentenced him to five years imprisonment.

Business Hilights understood that worried by the conviction on June 6, 2016, by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of  24 out of the 27 counts pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Omatseye who was sentenced to five years imprisonment without an option of a fine, approached the appellate court.

His lawyer, Mr. Olusina Sofola (SAN), had in 2016, described Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s judgment as unreasonable and urged the appellate court to overturn it.

In a judgment on Thursday, the Court of Appeal agreed with Sofola and overturned Omatseye’s conviction.

Some senior staff of the agency who spoke to our correspondent in several telephone interviews expressed shocks saying his return at this time may be an Act of God, considering observed slow pace of real development in the nation’s maritime sector.

It would be recalled that for several years now, no indigenous shipper has access any fund from the maritime fund or the Cabotage vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) as the current leadership continue to advance excuses that there are some militating issues blocking the release of the facilities.