Convicted former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director-General, Raymond Temisan Omatseye, has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to grant him bail on compassionate grounds, and pending the determination of his appeal against his conviction.
Omatseye was convicted by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia on May 20.
The ex-NIMASA’s DG, who is challenging the verdict, is praying the court to grant him bail pending the determination of his appeal he lodged at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.
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.
Omatseye said 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.”
Besides, 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 pleaded that 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.
In its response, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) argued that the issues raised by Omatseye ought to be determined by the appellate court.
The Commission argued 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 his favour and admit the applicant to bail.
“We, therefore, urged this honorable court to dismiss the application,” EFCC said.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogibia adjourned to June 6 for ruling.