Fuel subsidy probe: Lawan, Boniface ask Court to stop trial

By The Citizen

The Chairman and Secretary of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy probe, Hon. Farouk Lawan and  Mr. Emenalo Boniface, have respectively applied to an Abuja High Court to stop their trial for allegedly receiving $620,000 from Mr.  Femi Otedola to influence the report of the committee in favour of his company, Zenon Oil and Gas Limited,  pending the determination of their appeal.

The court   on May 10, refused the application of the two accused persons to quash the charges against them.

In dismissing the application, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi held that the two accused persons had a case to answer.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Lawan and Boniface appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Pending the time the appellate court will determine their appeal, they have in the meantime,  filed an application to stop the court from going on with their trial.

Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN) who filed the application on behalf of the accused persons, said the continuation of the case while the appeal was pending would render the outcome of the appeal nugatory should the appeal court rule in their favour.

However, a counter-affidavit filed by the prosecutor, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), asked the court to refuse the application.

He said the appeal was a ploy to delay or frustrate the trial of the accused persons.
Awomolo further said there was no compelling situation to stay proceedings.
Lawan and Emenalo were said to have violated the provisions of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission  (ICPC) Act.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Chidi Amaeze, he averred that investigation into the criminal case had been concluded.

Lawan had repeatedly denied Otedola's accusations, saying he collected the $620,000 as evidence to expose the businessman's attempts to bribe him.
Lawan and Boniface had pleaded not guilty to the charges and had since been admitted to bail by the trial judge, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi.
The case comes up today.