The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has opposed a post-conviction bail application by former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director-General Raymond Temisan Omatseye.
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court in Lagos on May 20 sentenced him to a prison term of five years 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.
According to him, 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, Omatseye said he is a father of four children, one of whom is very ill and suffers from “severe medical conditions of epilepsy, a typical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with mitral regurgitation, artrial fibrillation, enuresis, severe learning difficulties and development delays.”
He said his wife stays full time in London with the sick child to enable him get proper medical attention. In his wife’s absence, he has been providing parental care to the remaining three children in Nigeria.
Omatseye said he would not run away if granted bail. He said he was always in court during trial, adding that he was granted bail after his arraignment on self-recognition, having been a lawyer for 28 years.
But the EFCC said 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 said bail after conviction is only granted on the basis of very special and exceptional circumstances.
“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 honorable court to dimiss the application,” the EFCC said.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogibia adjourned to June 6 for ruling.
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