By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - A Nigerian official was sentenced on Friday to five years in jail after a court found him guilty of corruption charges, including contract scams worth $7.6 million.
Raymond Omatseye, former head of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, had faced a 27-count charge of contract variation, bid-rigging, and awarding contracts above his approval limit, among other corruption charges.
Lagos High Court Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia found him guilty of all but four of the charges, and sentenced him to five years “without the option of fine”.
Omatseye can appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
The landmark conviction could boost the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari, who insists that corruption could kill the country unless confronted headlong.
Dozens of officials from past administrations are facing corruption charges in court. The most prominent of the suspects include former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki and former defense chief Alex Badeh, charged with alleged embezzlement of over $2 billion in funds meant for counterinsurgency operations in the country's northeast.