Thursday, June 24, 2021

$3m bribe: Farouk Lawal bags 7 years jail term

 A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has sentenced former chairman of the House of Representatives’ probe panel, Farouk Lawal, to seven years imprisonment for demanding a $3 million bribe from an oil magnate, Femi Otedola.


Justice Angela Otaluka, in her judgment, yesterday, convicted the ex-lawmaker on all three count charges the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) preferred against him.

Lawan was the chairman of the committee probing the multi-billion naira fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.

He was accused of demanding $3 million from Femi Otedola to remove Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited (Otedola’s company) from the list of oil companies allegedly involved in the fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.

The ex-lawmaker was alleged to have collected a $500,000 bribe from Otedola. The charge was later amended to three counts.

Otedola, while giving evidence as the fifth prosecution witness, said the defendant demanded $3 million from him with a threat to indict his company.

The businessman said he proceeded to report the issue to the Department of State Services (DSS) and was given $500,000 in marked notes. Also, the DSS had planted a camera in Otedola’s house.

Earlier, Justice Otaluka dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Farouk Lawan against his trial to set the stage for his conviction.

Whereas the defendant was handed seven years jail term on counts one and two of the charge, the court sentenced him to five years on count three.

Justice Otaluka held that the sentence would run concurrently. Lawan was the chairman of an ad hoc committee set up by the House in 2012 to investigate massive petrol subsidy fraud.

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