Farouk Lawan
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$500,000 Bribe: Court Sentences Farouk Lawan To Seven Years In Jail After 10-Year Trial

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The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy, Farouk Lawan, has been sentenced to seven years in jail by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Justice Angela Otaluka, convicted Lawan on the three-count charge on which he was tried by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

Giving the verdict on Tuesday, Lawan was found guilty of the three-count charge bordering on corruptly asking for and obtaining a bribe from Femi Otedola, in order to exonerate Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited from the list of companies in the fuel subsidy scam.

Justice Otaluka noted that the evidence listed and submitted before the court by the prosecution counsel, remain unshaken during cross-examination, adding that the conduct, responses, and submissions of the defendant and witnesses, in this case, establish the charge in the count.

Persecondnews reports that Count one states that the former Chairman, ad hoc committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime corruptly asked the Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Femi Otedola, for a bribe of $3 million as an inducement to remove the name of his company from the report of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime.

Justice Otaluka said: “Count One of the charges is not based on suspicion but on credible evidence. The defendant; Mr Lawan, corruptly asked for $3million and received a $500,000 bribe in two tranches from Femi Otedola.

“The conduct of the defendant established the ingredients of corruption which he was charged to court, as he did not report any case of inducement to any law enforcement agency.”

He added that the defendant demanded a balance of payment, after receiving the first and second tranche of the payment, and as at the early hours of April 24, 2012, when the accused received the second tranche, no complaint was made to any security agency or anti-corruption agencies, as he claims he accepted the money to show as evidence before the house.

The judge said the defendant failed to convince the court that his acceptance of the said bribe was to serve as evidence before the House Committee, that the Chairman of Zelon Petroleum wants to bribe the Committee involved in the probe.

The court also ordered that the defendant should return the sum of $500,000 to the Federal Government.

On count one and two, the court sentenced Lawan to seven years, while for count three he was sentenced to five years.

The sentences are, however, to run concurrently.

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