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$3m bribery: How Farouk Lawan was sentenced to 14 years jail

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When Hon. Farouk Lawan was sentenced on Tuesday by a High Court in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, it was a long journey and a battle with the law to exculpate himself from allegation of $3 million bribe from a Lagia businessman.

The convicted Lawan spent 16 years representing Bagwa/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State in the House of Representatives having won elections four times from 1999 to 2015.

Throughout his sixteen years, he was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

As a ranking lawmaker in the lower Chambers, Lawan was appointed Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on Petroleum Subsidy in 2014.

The Federal High Court found him guilty of seeking and obtaining a $3 million bribe.

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Lawan was found guilty of count one, two, and three charges, which bother on corruptly asking for and obtaining bribe from Mr Femi Otedola, in order to exonerate Zenon 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 inducement to remove his company’s name from the report of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime.

Recall that the video published in 2012, Mr Lawan purportedly requested for a $3 million bribe from Mr Otedola.

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Legal reasons for conviction

According to the presiding Justice Angela Otaluka, the evidence listed and submitted before the court by the prosecution counsel were convincing at cross-examination.

He also held that the conduct, responses and submissions of the defendant (Lawan) and witnesses in this case, actually established the charge in the count.

In count two, which stated that the defendant collected $500,000 as a bribe to exonerate Zelon petroleum and gas from the fuel subsidy probe report, Justice Otaluka held 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.

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He 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 wanted to bribe the Committee involved in the probe.

Justice Otaluka convicted Lawan to seven years for counts one and two and five years for count three, adding that the sentences were to run concurrently.

The court also ordered that Lawan to return the $500,000 to the federal government.

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