$3m bribe: Appeal court affirms Farouk Lawal’s Conviction


The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the conviction of Farouk Lawan, former lawmaker, over the $3 million bribery charges preferred against him by the federal government.

Lawan was the chairman of the house of representatives ad hoc committee probing the multi-billion naira petrol subsidy fraud in 2012.

He was accused of demanding $3 million from Femi Otedola to remove Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited (Otedola’s former company) from the list of oil companies allegedly involved in the petrol subsidy fraud in 2012.

Lawan, who was arraigned on seven counts of bribery by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), was alleged to have collected a $500,000 bribe from Otedola.

The charge was later amended to three counts.

On June 22, 2021, Angela Otaluka, judge of a federal capital territory high court in Apo, convicted the accused on all three counts and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment.

However, delivering judgment in the appeal filed by the convict, the court discharged and acquitted the former lawmaker on two out of the three counts on which he was convicted.

The jail term was also reduced to five years from seven years as the court affirmed his conviction on the only remaining offence which the lower court punished with five years jail term.

Dismissing the first two counts, a three-member panel led by Monica Dongban-Mensem, appeal court president, held that the prosecution failed to prove that Lawan demanded and agreed to accept $3 milllion from Otedola to exonerate the company from the list of firms indicted for petrol subsidy fraud in 2012.

But the panel affirmed the decision of the lower court that Lawan, indeed, accepted a $500,000 bribe from Otedola.


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