JUST IN: Court sentences Lawan to 19 years in prison

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Mr Lawan was convicted of bribery for demanding gratification from Oil mogul Femi Otedola to extricate his company from fuel subsidy fraud.

The Apo Division of the FCT Hight court in Abuja has sentenced former lawmaker Farouk Lawan to 19 years in prison. The court found Mr Lawan guilty of bribery charges preferred against him by the federal government.

Ruling on the case with suit no FCT/HC/CR/76/2013, Justice Angela Otaluka on Tuesday handed down a seven-year jail term for count 1 and another seven years for count 2 and five years for count 3 which is to run concurrently. He is also to return the sum of $3 million to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Mr Lawan who was the Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy in 2012 at the 7th National Assembly was charged for allegedly receiving $500,000 bribe from Femi Otedola chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited to exonerate his company from the list of indicted companies for petroleum subsidy fraud.

Mr Otedola who was cross examined on January 28, 2019 by Barrister Mike Ozekhome, SAN, told the court that the money he gave Mr Lawan was from the State Security Service, SSS, after he informed them of the blackmail by Mr Lawan. He said the money which was marked was received in two tranches of $250,000.

The first count of the charges showed that Mr Lawan demanded a $3 million (N450 million) bribe from Mr Otedola which led to Mr Lawan’s suspension and his chairmanship of the committee stripped by the house.

The seven-count charge was filed on January 29, 2013 by O.O. Fatunde on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, against Mr Lawan and Emenalo Boniface who was the secretary of the ad-Hoc committee at that time.

Both of them were charged with receiving $620, 000 (N93 million) from Mr Otedola. $500,000 by Mr Lawan and $120,000 by Mr Boniface.

Mr Lawan was said to have committed an offence contrary to section 17 (1) of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under section 17 (1) of the same Act

However on August 4, 2020, the Court of Appeal dismissed the no submission charge by Mr Lawan seeking to terminate the charge by the federal government against him.

Justice Otaluka in her 129 pages ruling said the defendant was a public officer as of the time of the suit

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