Bribery: Appeal Court Affirms Ex-Nigerian Lawmaker, Farouk Lawan’s Conviction, Reduces Jail Term

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja Thursday affirmed the conviction of a former member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan, for receiving a $500,000 bribe during a legislative probe into the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.
 
Premium Times reports that the decision came as the court discharged and acquitted the former lawmaker on two of the offences he was earlier jailed for by the lower trial court last June.

Mr Lawan also got a reduction of his jail term from seven to five years.
 
This arose from his acquittal regarding two of the counts punishable by seven years jail term.
 
The court affirmed his conviction on the only remaining offence which the lower court punished with five years jail term.
 
A three-member panel led by the court’s president, Monica Dongban-Mensem, ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that Mr Lawan demanded and agreed to accept $3 million from billionaire oil mogul, Femi Otedola, to exonerate the businessman’s company from the list of firms indicted for fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.
 
However, the Court of Appeal’s panel affirmed the decision of the lower court that Mr Lawan, indeed, accepted a $500,000 bribe from Mr Otedola. The lower court had jailed Mr Lawan for five years for this offence.
 
According to the report, the Court of Appeal affirmed both the conviction and the sentence passed by the lower court on the offence, but discharged and acquitted him regarding the two other counts of demanding and agreeing to accept $3 million from Mr Otedola to clear his company.
 
Justice Angela Otaluka, of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, had in June 2021 sentenced the former federal lawmaker representing Kano State, Lawan to seven years imprisonment over $500,000 bribery allegations.
 
The judgment was in Suit No FCT/HC/CR/76/2013 between the federal government and Farouk M. Lawan.
 
The verdict which lasted hours was given by Justice Angela Otaluka of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Apo, Abuja.
 
The former lawmaker was found guilty on all three counts of bribery.
 
The bribery scandal that nailed Lawan was an aftermath of allegations against some companies indicted for fuel subsidy fraud during his tenure as the chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the fraud around the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.
 
The former lawmaker was thereafter arraigned on charges of receiving a bribe of $500,000 from a billionaire oil magnate, Femi Otedola.
 
The money, it was alleged, was part of the $3milllion Lawan had requested from Otedola, to have the businessman’s firms removed from the list of companies indicted for the said subsidy fraud.

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