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Farouk Lawan fails to open defence in alleged $620,000 bribery trial

Farouk Lawan

Former Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee that investigated the fuel subsidy regime in 2012, Farouk Lawan, for the third time on Thursday failed to open his defence in his trial for an alleged infraction in the fuel subsidy regime before a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo.

Farouk Lawan
Farouk Lawan

Lawan, was dragged before Justice Angela Otaluka by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

He was a four-term member of the House of Representatives, who represented Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano state between 1999 and 2015.

In the case marked FCT/HR/CR/76/13, he was alleged to have demanded the sum of three million dollars for himself from the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Femi Otedola.

He was alleged to have collected $620, 000 out of the amount with a view to removing Otedola’s companies’ names from the list of firms indicted by the ad hoc committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.

He pleaded not guilty to the offence and following the failure of his no-case submission, Lawan had told the court on January 28 that one of his witnesses scheduled to testify for him that day, Babangida Abubakar, lost his brother.

On February 11, the date the case was adjourned to, the former House of Representatives member through Benson Igbanoi, who held the brief of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said that he was applying for subpoena to compel a former member of the House and Abubakar to come to court to testify for him.

However, on the resumed sitting, Godwin Iyinbor, who held the brief of Ozekhome, informed that the defence is yet to serve the subpoena on the two witnesses.

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In view of this, he asked for an adjournment to enable the defence do the needful by mobilising the court bailiff to serve the subpoena on the witnesses.

Prosecuting counsel, Fatogun Eyitayo, holding the brief of Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) opposed the application for adjournment.

Eyitayo said that at the last adjourned date on February 11, the court indicated that that would be the last adjournment to be granted the defence.

Ruling on the application, Justice Otaluka however, stated that the failure of the defence to serve the subpoena applied for on the witnesses was deliberate.

She further stated that the case was a criminal matter which ought to be held on a day to day basis in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (AJCA).

Justice Otaluka however, adjourned matter until March 19 for defence.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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