…..ordered to refund $500, 000 to FG
By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting at Apo, yesterday, convicted and sentenced the former Chairman of then House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy probe, Mr. Farouk Lawan, to seven years imprisonment.
The four-term lawmaker for Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State, was convicted on all three-count charges preferred against him by the federal government.
The accused was handed 7 years jail term on counts 1 and 2 of the charge, the court sentenced him to 5 years on count 3.
Justice Angela Otaluka, found guilty of demanding an aggregate sum of $3million from Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Chief Femi Otedola, to give his company a clean bill of health in the fuel subsidy probe the House of Reps initiated on 2012.
According to the court, Lawal acted in breach of section 17 (1) (a), section 8(1) (a) (b) (ii), and section 23 (i) of the Corrupt practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000, and committed an offence punishable under section 8 (1) 17 (1) and 23(3) of the same Act.
In her judgement, Otaluka maintained that the court was satisfied that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission(ICPC) successfully established a criminal case against the Defendant.
The court, maintained that evidence before it, proved that Lawan met with Otedola on April 20, 23 and 24, 2021, and collected $25, 000 in two tranches as part payment to compromise the outcome of the House of Reps probe.
Justice’s Otaluka held that Lawan’s admittance before the court that Otedola gave him $500, 000 and promised to bring another $2.5m to him by plane, strengthened the case of the Prosecution that $3m was indeed offered to him as bribe.
She held that Lawan did not refute ICPC’s evidence that he visited Otedola’s house to collect a tranche of the bribe money.
She further noted that Lawan claimed that he collected the $500, 000 as a set-up against Otedola, “to serve as a lesson to others that put the committee under pressure”.
“From totality of evidence before me, I am convinced that the Defendant corruptly asked for a bribe of $3m out of which he received an aggregate sum of $500, 000.
“The Prosecution has successfully discharged the burden of proof placed on it by the law”, the court held.
Consequently, the court ordered him to make restitution by refunding the $500, 000 he collected from Otedole to the federal government.