$ 3 Million Dollar Bribe: Court Remands Farouk Lawan In Prison Custody!

An Abuja High Court on Friday ordered that Honourable Farouk Lawan of the Federal House of Representatives and Boniface Emenalo be remanded in prison custody till February 8, 2013 when the hearing of the corruption charges against them would come up.

Honourable Lawan who wore a white brocade babariga was in the court room sitting quietly beside Hon Emenalo before the hearing commenced. On the other side of the aisle, Hon Dino Melaye was seen putting on a red face cap with the inscription “say no to corruption”. Melaye however left before the proceedings commenced.

 

The Counts Against Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo

Count 1

That you, sometimes in April 2012 or thereabout at Abuja within the Federal Capital Territory under the jurisdiction of this court, did while acting in your responsibility as Chairman and Secretary of the House of Representatives Committee that investigated the fuel subsidy regime conspired to corruptly obtain $ 3 million for yourselves from Mr Femi Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Oil & Gas Ltd, as inducement to remove the name of  Zenon Oil & Gas from the House of Representatives report, and did cause the House of Representatives to remove the name, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 26 (1) c of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000, punishable under Section 8 (1) of the same Act.

 

Count 2

That you, Farouk M. Lawan, while being a member of the House of Representatives, sometime in April 2012 or thereabout, at Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory, within the jurisdiction of this court, did while acting in the course of your official duty corruptly asked for $ 3 million from Mr Femi Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Oil & Gas on your account of showing favour by removing the name of Zenon Oil & Gas from the House of Representatives’ report, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 8 (1)a of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and punishable under Section 8 (1) of the same Act.

 

Count 3

That you, Farouk M. Lawan while being a member of the House of Representatives Committee sometime in April 2012, or thereabout at Abuja, in the Federal Capital territory, within the jurisdiction of this court, did corruptly agree to accept the $ 3 million for yourself from Mr Femi Otedoola, Chairman of Zenon Oil & Gas as an inducement to remove the name of Zenon Oil & Gas Ltd and 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.

Count 4

That you, Farouk M. Lawan, while being a member of the House of Representatives, in April 2012 or thereabout, at Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory, within the jurisdiction of this court

in the course of your official duties corruptly obtained the sum of $ 500,000 for yourself as inducement to remove the name of Zenon Oil from a House of Representatives’ Report and committed an offence contrary to Section 17 (1)(2) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 17 (1) of the same Act.

 

Count 5

That you, Boniface Emenalo, while being a public officer, as Assistant Director and Secretary of a House of Representatives Committee, in April 2012 or thereabout at Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory, within the jurisdiction of this court, did while acting as Secretary, corruptly asked for $ 3 million for yourself from Mr Femi Otedola of Zenon Oil & Gas Ltd on account of afterwards showing favour by removing the name of Zenon Oil from a House of Representatives Report and committed an offence contrary to Section 8 (1)b (2) of Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1) of the same Act.

Count 6

That you, Boniface Emenalo, while being a public officer, an Assistant Director and Clerk of the House of Representatives Committee on Education, in April 2012 or thereabout, at Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory while acting on your responsibility as Secretary of the House Committee that investigated the fuel subsidy regime was offered gratification and you failed to

report the offer of gratification to to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission or the police, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 23(1) of the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act, 2000, punishable under Section 23(3) of the same Act.

Count

That you, Boniface Emenalo, while being a public officer, an Assistant Director, and Clerk of the House of Representatives Committee on Education, in April 2012 or thereabout, at Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory while acting on your responsibility as Secretary of the House Committee that investigated the fuel subsidy regime received $ 20,000 (twenty thousand dollars) as gratification from Mr Femi Otedola of Zenon Oil & Gas Ltd in order to remove the name of Zenon Oil & Gas from a House of Representatives’ report, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 10 (a)2 of the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 10 of the same Act.

Both accused persons entered “not guilty” pleas to all the charges and the lead prosecutor, Adegboyega Awomolo requested that the accused persons should be remanded in prison custody pending the date of the trial.

Mike Ozekhome of the defence team however disclosed to the court that a motion for bail was filed early on Friday morning in anticipation of the prosecution’s request. The prosecuting counsel confirmed service of the motion as he said “we were served the bail application around 9 am today and on the issues of law, we are ready”

While addressing the court, the defence counsel relied on Sections 340 and 341 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code and gave some grounds to support the bail application. He said the accused persons were already on administrative bail and they did not violate any of the terms. He also pointed out that they reported to the police about 37 times in the course of their investigation.

The counsel also disclosed that the first accused person, Hon Lawan has had cause to travel outside the country more than four times since the commencement of the investigation while the second accused person has had to go to the United States twice. He also stated that the first accused person has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1999, he is a member of the ECOWAS Parliament, where he is one of the founding members. He also stated that he is a member of the House Committee on Administration and Finance. He said his clients are willing to come and stand trial as they had no intention of absconding.

Awomolo however opposed the bail application stating that the accused persons are charged with offences punishable by 2 to 7-year jail terms and may therefore not ordinarily be bailable.

He also told the court to consider the likelihood of committing another offence while on bail in the consideration of the bail application. “This is a case of corruption by public officials at the highest level, particularly in the legislative arm. They did not give an affidavit that they will not go back to the House of Reps and become members of another committee and they will not demand for or take another bribe”, Awomolo said.

When the judge asked if it was illegal to be a member of a committee, his reply was “your lordship needs an assurance, that they will not go back to demand for more bribe if granted bail, what made them demand for $ 3 million, they can ask for $ 19 million.” He also said the accused persons were part of those who made the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act in 2000 and since they have chosen to violate it, they should not be admitted to bail.

Ozekhome however told the court that the issue of bail is discretionary and since the prosecution team has averred that investigation has been concluded, there is no threat of the accused persons interfering with the outcome. He said the prosecution team has a burden of proving that the two accused persons will not be available to stand trial.

Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi however adjourned till February 8, 2013 and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody till then.

Speaking after the session, the prosecuting counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo SAN said “what I can tell Nigerians is that the case will be well handled, they can be rest assured of diligent prosecution and we are telling Nigerians that we will not fail them.

 


 

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Author: NewsAdmin

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