$.5m Bribe: Ex-lawmaker, Lawan Fails at Supreme Court to Reverse 5yrs Sentence

$.5m Bribe: Ex-lawmaker, Lawan Fails at Supreme Court to Reverse 5yrs Sentence

Alex Enumah in Abuja 

Hope of a former House of Representatives member from Kano State, Mr Farouk Lawan, to get his five years sentencing over bribery conviction quashed, was on Friday dashed, as the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal for lacking in merit.

Lawan was convicted by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on June 22, 2021, on a three-count charge of soliciting a bribe, agreeing to accept a bribe, and actually accepting the sum of $500,000 bribe from a businessman and Chairman, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Mr Femi Otedola.

He was said to have committed the offence while serving as the Chairman of the House’s ad hoc Committee investigating the fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.

Justice Angela Otaluka, who tried him, found him guilty of accepting the sum of $500,000 from the $3 million demanded in order to remove Otedola’s oil company, Zenon Oil and Gas, from the list of firms indicted for fraud in the fuel subsidy regime.

She subsequently sentenced Lawan to seven years imprisonment.

However, the former legislator was fortunate to get two of the counts struck out, as well as his jail term reduced from seven to five at the Court of Appeal, two years ago.

Still not satisfied, he had approached the apex court to nullify the remaining one count charge, as well as set aside his sentencing.

But, the apex court, in its unanimous judgment prepared by Justice John Okoro, held that the lower court was right in holding a guilty verdict against him in the remaining one count charge.

Justice Tijjani Abubakar, who read the lead judgment, therefore while dismissing his appeal affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had convicted him in respect of only count three and sentenced him to five years imprisonment.

Lawan had in his appeal urged the apex court to set aside the February 24, 2022 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sentenced him to a five-year jail term and discharged him on two out of the three counts on the corruption charge brought against him by the Federal Government.

His lawyer, Chief Joseph Daudu, had informed the apex court that the appellate court had discharged his client on counts one and two, which attracted a maximum of seven years.

Daudu then submitted that if the lower court could discharge his client on the two counts, which he claimed, have the same ingredients as the third count, the Supreme Court should equally let him off the hook in relation to the third count.

But the apex court, in its unanimous judgment, however disagreed with the appellant.

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