By Lukman Olabiyi
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi has granted convicted former Director General (DG), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Raymond Omatseye bail pending the hearing and determination of his appeal at the court of appeal.
The court had on May 20, sentenced Omatseye to five years imprisonment for awarding contracts above threshold during his tenure in NIMASA.
Omatseye who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), found guilty of 24 out of the 27 counts preferred against him.
But the court discharged and acquitted him of 3 out of the 27 counts bordering on bid rigging.
Not satisfied with the verdict, Omatseye approached Court of Appeal and also prayed the lower court to grant him bail pending the determination of his appeal.
In his motion for bail pending the hearing and determination of appeal, he stated that, given the number of years it takes to prosecute appeals, it is likely that he could have finished serving the prison term by the time the appeal is determined.
Besides, he added that he is a father of four children, one of whom is very ill and suffers from “severe medical conditions of epilepsy.
Omatseye also told the court that his wife stays full time in London with the sick child, to enable him get proper medical attention.
He averred that he would not run away if granted bail.
Delivering his ruling, the trial judge ruled: “I have looked at the processes filed by appellant but I have a discretion which must be exercised judicially and judiciously.
“In the applicants affidavit, he deposed to the fact that his child suffers from a severe medical condition, which is an uncontrollable epilepsy seizure which has put the family under serious strain.
“I will admit the appellant to bail on the single ground of been a mother.
“Even a mad woman will come after you if you toil with her child.
“The applicant is hereby admitted to bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties each in like sum;
“One of the sureties must be a level 16 officer in the civil service who must deposit his international passport with the court’s registry.”