An Abuja High Court has sentenced Farouk Lawan, the former Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on Petroleum Subsidy, to seven years in prison.
Lawan was found guilty of count one, two, and three bothering on corruptly asking for and obtaining same from Femi Otedola on Tuesday, in order to exonerate Zelon Petroleum and Gas Limited from the list of companies in the fuel subsidy scam.
Count one stated 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.
The presiding judge, Justice Angela Otaluka, noted that the evidence listed and submitted before the court by the prosecution counsel, remain unshaken during cross-examination.
The judge also noted that the conduct, responses, and submissions of the defendant and witnesses, in this case, establish the charge in the count.
Count two stated that the defendant collected the sum of $500,000 as a bribe to exonerate Zenon petroleum and gas from the fuel subsidy probe report.
Justice Otaluka 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 24th April 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 further 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.
For count one and two the court sentenced Lawan to seven years while for count three he was sentenced to five years.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
The court also ordered that the defendant return the sum of $500,000 to the Federal Government.