Friday, 1 February 2013
Farouk Lawan Faces Trial Today over $620,000 Bribe Allegation
Finally, after several months of calling for a trial by human rights groups and concerned citizens, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Commission will today arraign the former chairman of the House AdHoc Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy Regime, Farouk Lawan, over a seven-count charge bearing on corrupt enrichment.
He will be facing charges from the allegations by the Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas, Femi Otedola, that Lawan demanded and received $620,000 as a bribe from him while he (Lawan) was the chairman of the Committee.
Punch reports that he will be arraigned alongside the secretary of the adhoc committee, Boniface Emenalo. They are to be tried for “Violation of the Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Act, 2000.”
Count One of the Charge Sheet made available to Punch reads:
“That you, Farouk Lawan (M) and Mr. Emenalo Boniface (M) sometime in April 2012 or thereabouts in Abuja within the Federal Capital Territory under the jurisdiction of this honourable court did while acting in the course of your official duties as Chairman and Secretary (respectively) of House of Representatives AdHoc Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy Regime conspired between yourselves and with each other to corruptly obtain the sum of $3,000,000 for yourselves from Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, as inducement to remove the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd from the House of Representatives AdHoc Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy Regime’s Report and did cause the House to remove the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd from the said list and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 26(1)(c) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under section 8(1) of the same Act.”
The prosecution is coming several months after the police had concluded investigations into the allegation. Prior to this, Lawan had repeatedly denied Otedola’s accusations, saying he collected the $620,000 as evidence to expose the businessman’s attempts to bribe him.