By Chinyere Omeire
The Court of Appeal in Lagos on Thursday reversed the sentence on Raymond Omatseye, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He had been sentenced on allegations of N1.5 billion fraud.
Justice Yargata Nimpar, who read the decision of the court, said the High Court which tried him, did not properly evaluate the evidence before it.
The Federal High Court, Lagos, on May 20, 2016, presided by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, sentenced Omatseye to five years in jail over an alleged N1.5 billion contract scam.
Nimpar said: “The prosecution should not ride roughshod over the Constitution.
“The judiciary will do the war on corruption more harm by declaring someone a criminal, where no offence has been committed
“I find merit in the appeal. The conviction is hereby set aside and the appellant is hereby discharged and acquitted.”
The High Court had found Omatseye guilty of 24 out of the 27 charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Meanwhile, a 37-year-old man, Mukaila Shamotu, was on Thursday arraigned in an Osogbo Chief Magistrates’ Court for allegedly stealing food items valued at N109,000.
Shamotu of no fixed address is facing a two-count charge of burglary and theft.
The prosecutor, Insp. Rasak Olaiwola, alleged that the accused committed the offences between May 8 and May 9 at Ota-Efun area in Osun.
Olaiwola alleged that Shamotu broke into the shop of Oyekan Funke and stole some food items: bag rice, bag beans, 25 litres of groundnut oil, and 25 litres of red oil among others worth N109, 000.
The accused,however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The counsel to the accused, Mr Najite Okobie, prayed the court to grant his client bail in liberal terms.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Fatimoh Sodamade, granted the accused bail in the sum of N100, 000 and one surety in the like sum.
Sodamade said the surety must reside within the court jurisdiction with evidence of tax payment, produce two passport photographs, an affidavit of means and the address which should be verified.
She adjourned the case until Aug. 2 for hearing. (NAN)