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Farouk Lawan, Boniface Appear In Court As Trial Begins Over $620,000 Bribe

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, January 31, (THEWILL) - The trial of the former chairman of the House of Representative Ad-hoc Committee on fuel subsidy regime, Hon. Farouk Lawan and the secretary of the committee, Mr. Emenalo Boniface, is to begin Thursday with their arraignment before an Abuja High Court .

They are facing trial for contravening the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offence Commission (ICPC) Act by allegedly receiving a bribe of $620, 000 from a Lagos based oil magnet, Femi Otedola, to remove his company, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd from the list of companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scam.

It will be recalled that in the wake of oil subsidy crisis, the House of Representatives had set up an adhoc-committee headed by Lawan to probe the oil subsidy regime.

The committee indicted some oil companies and individuals of short-changing the subsidy regime to the tune of N1.7trn.

Already, an Abuja High Court, sitting before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi has granted the Federal Government the permission to prefer a criminal charge under Section 185 (b) of the Criminal Procedure Code against the suspects.

Oniyangi, while granting the ICPC's request to file the charges held: "Upon careful consideration of the application and attached documents in support of same filed by the complainant's counsel...

"Leave is hereby granted to the complainant/applicant to prefer criminal charge under section 185 (b) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

"The case is fixed for the 1st day of Febuary, 2013 for arraignment."

The seven count-charge was filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs Olufunlayo Fatunde and Farouk and Boniface are expected to make their plea Thursday.

Count one of the charge reads: "That you Hon Farouk Lawan (M) and Mr. Emenalo Boniface (M) sometimes in April 2012 or thereabout at Abuja witjin the Federal Capital Territory under the jurisdiction of this court did while acting in the course of your official duties as chairman and secretary (respectively) of House of Representative Ad-ho c Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy Regime conspired between yourselves and with each other to corruptly obtain $3 million for yourselves from Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd as inducement to remove the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd from the House of Representative Ad-Hoc Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy's Regime report and did cause the House of Representatives to remove the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd from the list and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26 (1) (c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8 (1) of the same Act".

Count four reads: "That you Hon Farouk Lawal while being a member of the House of Representative Ad-Hoc Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy's Regime sometimes in April 2012 or there about at Abuja within the Federal Capital Territory under the jurisdiction of this court did while acting in the course of your official duty corruptly obtain the sum of $500n 000 for yourself from Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd as an inducement to remove the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd from the report of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act , 2000 and punishable under Section 17 (1) of the same Act".

In the 5th Count charge, Emenalo was alleged to have corruptly asked for $3 million from Otedola to remove the name of his company from the list of companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scam, thereby violating the ICPC Act, 2000.

He was also accused of receiving gratification from the oil magnet and refused to report the offer of gratification to any officer of the ICPC, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 23 (1) of the ICPC Act and punishable under Section 23 (3) of the same Act.

Emenalo was also accused in count seven of receiving $120, 000 as gratification from Otedola in order to remove his company name from the report of the Ad-Hoc committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime, an action that violates Section 10 (a)(ii) of ICPC Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 10 of the same Act.


It is not yours until it is yours.
By: Ayami Dennis