Former co-accused to the ex-Chairman, House of Representatives ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy, Farouk Lawan, Boniface Emenalo will testify against Lawan in the case of acceptance of bribe brought against him and Lawan.
Until yesterday, Lawan and Emenalo, who acted as the committee’s secretary, were listed as defendants in the seven-count charge brought against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
But yesterday, prosecution lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo announced that the prosecution has amended the charge, reduced the counts to three and deleted Emenalo as a defendant.
The amended charge indicated that Lawan demanded $3 million from Mr. Michael Otedola and did collect $500,000 from the businessman. The offences are said to be contrary to sections 8(1)(a) and 17(1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, and punishable under sections (8)(1) and 17(1) of the same Act.
Awomolo, through Emenalo as first prosecution witness, tendered some documents in aid of the prosecution’s case. The documents include: Order Paper for the special session sitting of the House of Representatives on Sunday, January 8, 2012; votes and proceedings of the special session on the same date; Order Paper, vote and proceedings of the House on Wednesday April 18, 2012; and Order Paper, votes and proceedings of Tuesday April 24, 2012.
Also tendered was ‘Report of an ad hoc committee to determine the actual subsidy requirement and monitor the implementation of the subsidy regime in Nigeria (Resolution number HR.1/2012)’.
Trial Judge Justice Angela Otakula dismissed the objection by the defense lawyer, Sekop Zumka, who contended that the documents were not admissible as exhibits because the prosecution failed to provide the evidence of payment for its certification by the House of Representatives as provided for in the Evidence Act 2011.
But Justice Otakula held that unpaid fees does not render a document inadmissible in as much as it is relevant to the case. She also held that there was no provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 which prohibited the tendering of documents obtained after a case was filed.
She, however, gave the prosecution seven days to pay the fees and fixed further hearing for February 9.