The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Apo on Tuesday convicted and sentenced a former member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan, for demanding a bribe of $3m and receiving $500,000 from businessman, Femi Otedola.
The court found Lawan guilty of the three charges against him and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment for the first count; seven years for the second count; and five years for count 3.
The jail terms will run concurrently.
The court also ordered him to return the $500,000 bribe.
While delivering the judgment, Justice Angela Ataluka, stated that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and found the ex-lawmaker guilty of the charges.
In Suit No. FHC/HC/CR/76/2013, Lawan, a former representative of the Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State between 1999 and 2015 and former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy in 2012, was brought before the court over a $3m bribery charge filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on behalf of the Federal Government.
The prosecution had accused him of demanding bribe of $3m and obtaining $500,000 from Otedola as inducement to remove his company from the list of indicted companies before the House of Reps Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy.
Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, had told the court that he did not mount pressure Lawan to remove his company’s name from the list of firms indicted for fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.
Otedola said rather, Lawan, the then chairman of the ad hoc committee, got from him $500,000 out of the $3m the lawmaker demanded.
He said his company was not involved in the fuel subsidy regime and there was no basis for it to be indicted, but Lawan only demanded money from him as a means of extortion.
Otedola told the court that he watched on the television how Lawan moved the motion for the removal of Zenon Oil from the list of indicted firms after receiving the $500,000.
However, he said his company was actually delisted from the list as a result of the documents supplied to show its innocence.
Otedola, a prosecution witness in the trial, had said the $500,000 offered to the defendant was from the Department of State Service.
He said the money was given to him by the DSS to set a trap for Lawan after petition the DSS
The delivery of the judgment was slightly delayed as a result of the downpour in Abuja which caused interruption in power supply in the court room.
The downpour also had the court room dripping with water from the leaking roof.