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Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Home Business Law Alleged $500,000 oil bribe: Court sentences Farouk Lawan to 7 years imprisonment

Alleged $500,000 oil bribe: Court sentences Farouk Lawan to 7 years imprisonment

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An FCT High Court on Tuesday sentenced Farouk Lawal to seven years imprisonment for collecting 500,000 dollars bribe.

Delivering judgment, Justice Angela Otaluka, the trial judge, ordered Lawan to restitute the 500,  000 dollars.

The EFCC charged Lawan with collecting 500,000 dollars of a three million dollars bribe he solicited from an oil tycoon to drop his company from the investigation.

Lawan chaired the House of Representative committee that produced the fuel scam report, accusing some of those who import fuel of massive corruption.

Two judges who earlier handled the matter could not see it to the end as the first one was elevated to the Court of Appeal bench and the second withdrew after Mr Lawan accused her of bias.

Mr Lawan is standing trial for allegedly demanding $3 million bribe from billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, to remove his firms from the list of companies indicted for oil subsidy fraud by the House committee.

The defendant was said to have received $500,000 out of the $3million he demanded from Mr Otedola.

Dismissing Mr Lawan’s preliminary objection to trial on Tuesday, Ms Otaluka said the argument of the defence lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, that Mr Lawan was not a public officer going by the Section 2 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act, was untenable.

The judge held that a public officer is anyone who occupies a public office and who is remunerated with public funds as against Mr Ozekhome’s argument that Mr Lawan was a “mere political office holders.”

Mr Lawan was the chairman of an ad hoc committee set up by the House in 2012 to investigate massive petrol subsidy fraud.

The committee found some oil companies culpable of defrauding the Federal Government via spurious subsidy claims. Zenon Petroleum and Gas Company, belonging to Mr Otedola, was also found culpable.

The committee enjoyed wide public approval of the committee’s work, with Mr Lawan appearing strict during public hearings on the matter.

He was later to be accused of had receiving bribe to clear some companies.

Mr Otedola’s encounter with the former lawmaker involving the exchange of about $500,000 was a “sting operation” to collect evidence, the State Security Service later told the court.

 

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