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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ICPC: Set to Re-arraign Farouk Lawan for $3m bribery scandal...

ICPC set to re-arraign Farouk Lawan in court over $3m bribery scandal

Former chairman of the 7th House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Probe, Mr. Farouk Lawan, is to be re-arraigned in court on July 5 on an amended three-count charge of bribery.

His re-arraignment by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) followed the nod by an Abuja High Court sitting at Jabi, to that effect.
Justice Yusuf Halilu will preside over Farouk Lawan’s case of alleged reception of bribe from chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Femi Otedola.
Otedola was said to have given the then lawmaker the bribe as an inducement to remove the name of his company from reports of the House of Reps Ad-hoc committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime.
Lawan was first arraigned in 2012 and Justice Halilu will be the fourth judge to preside over his trial.
ICPC had accused Lawan and secretary of the committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, of demanding an aggregate sum of $3million, with a view to ensuring that Otedola’s company escaped prosecution.
Lawan alone, was accused of pocketing $620,000 as part payment for the illegal deal.
ICPC later amended the charge and converted Emenalo to a prosecution witness and he had earlier given his evidence-in-chief before Justice Angela Otaluka of an Abuja High Court at Lugbe.'
Following accusation of bias levelled against Justice Otaluka by Lawan, she was directed to hands-off the case by Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello.
The second trial judge in the matter, Justice Adebukola Banjoko of FCT High Court at Gudu, was also accused by Lawan of being biased, which made him withdraw from the case on November 18, 2014.
Lawan, had in a petition he sent to the Chief Justice of Nigeria insisted that the judge was close to Otedola who was billed to testify against him.
Earlier, the ICPC had produced four out of its five proposed witnesses to testify against the defendant, with Otedola slated to mount the witness box before the matter was withdrawn from Justice Otaluka.
Meanwhile, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of the FCT High Court at Maitama, the first trial Judge, stepped down from the case after he was elevated to the Court of Appeal bench.
In a petition to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, (SAN) ICPC lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, (SAN) accused Lawan of using frivolous allegations to stall his trial.


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