Hearing is scheduled to commence tomorrow in the 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. A source at the Awomolo Chambers being used by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act 2000 for the prosecution said that Lawan and Boniface Emenalo will stand trial before Justice Angela Otaluka of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Lugbe on a seven counts of criminally obtaining the money from Otedola to influence the committee’s report in favour of Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd.
The two men were originally arraigned before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi in February 2013, before the matter was elevated to the Court of Appeal and then reassigned to Justice Adebukola Banjoko. Following an objection again before Justice Banjoko, the case was re-assigned to Justice Otaluka.
The duo are alleged to have conspired in April 2012 to demand $3million gratification from Otedola to remove his firm from the list of oil companies indicted for the scam.
The prosecution team, led by Adegboyega Awomolo, 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 violates 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.