$620,000 bribe: ICPC re-arraigns Farouk Lawan, Emenalo

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A former Chairman, House of Representative Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan, was on Wednesday re-arraigned before the FCT High Court, Abuja, for allegedly obtaining $620,000 bribe money from Femi Otedola.

Joined in the case is the committee’s secretary, Boniface Emenalo.

Both men are facing a seven-count criminal charge bordering on obtaining $620,000 from an oil magnate, Mr. Otedola, in order to doctor the committee’s report in favour of Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd.

Messrs Lawan and Emenalo were first arraigned before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi on February 2, 2013. The judge was later elevated to the Court of Appeal.

The case was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Adebukola Banjoko.

At the resumed re-arraignment, counsel to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related Offences Commission, ICPC, Adegboyega Awomolo, told the court that the case was slated for re-arraignment of the accused.

The ICPC alleged that accused conspired in April 2012 to demand $3 million gratification from Mr. Otedola to remove his firm from the list of oil companies indicted for the scam.

Mr. Awomolo argued that the offence contravened the provisions of Section 26 (1) (c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under Section 8 (1) of the same act.

Mr. Emenalo was separately accused in count seven of receiving $120,000 as gratification from Mr. Otedola for the same purpose.

The prosecution said the action violates Section 10 (a)(ii) of ICPC Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 10 of the same Act.

The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges read to them by the court.

The counsel to Messrs Lawan and Emenalo, Omowale Jolawon, urged the court to allow his clients to continue with the N10 million bail granted to each of them and two sureties each in like sum.

In a short ruling, Ms. Banjoko, ordered the accused to continue with the bail conditions granted by Justice Oniyangi.

She ordered the accused persons to present their sureties before the court, and adjourned the case until July 7 and 8 for accelerated trial.

Part of the bail term required the accused persons to submit their international passports with the court registrar, and restraint from traveling outside Nigeria without the permission of the court.

(NAN)

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