A High Court of the Federal Cpital Territory (FCT), sitting in Lugbe will on Tuesday commence trial of the former chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan, who is accused of obtaining $620,000 bribe money from the chairman of Forte Oil, Femi Otedola.
Lawan and Boniface Emenalo, who was the secretary of the Ad-hoc committee are being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a seven-count charge of collecting the $620. 000 bribe to enable the names of Mr. Otedola’s companies, Zenon Petroleum and Gas and Synopsis Enterprises Limited, to be excluded from the list of companies indicted for defrauding the Federal Government of over N2 trillion through the petroleum subsidy payments to marketers.
The two men were originally arraigned before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi in February 2013, before he (Oniyangi) was elevated to the Court of Appeal, the matter was re-assigned to Justice Adebukola Banjoko of High Court of the FCT sitting in Gudu. Following an objection again before Justice Banjoko, the case was re-assigned to Justice Angela Otaluka's court in Lugbe.
The duo are alleged to have conspired in April 2012 to demand $3 million gratification from Otedola to remove his firms from the list of oil companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scam.
The prosecution team, led by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), had argued before the court 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 law.
In Count Seven, Emenalo is separately accused of receiving $120,000 as gratification from Otedola for the same purpose, an offence which violate Section 10 (a)(ii) of ICPC Act 2000 and is punishable under Section 10. Having pleaded not guilty to the charges, Justice Banjoko ordered the accused to continue with the bail conditions granted by Justice Oniyangi.