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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

$620,000 ‘bribery': Emenalo goes against Lawan


The federal government has amended the criminal charges against Farouk Lawan, former chairman of the house of representatives ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy, who allegedly obtained a bribe of $620,000 from Femi Otedola, chairman of Forte Oil.
However, in the charge sheet seen by TheCable, Boniface Emenalo, former clerk of the committee, who was previously an accused person in the case, was not included as a defendant in the amended suit.
Rather, on Tuesday, he appeared before Justice Angela Otaluka of a federal capital territory high court, Lugbe, as a witness of the prosecution to testify against Lawan.
Count one of the charges reads: “That you Hon Farouk Lawan (M) being member of the house of representatives and chairman house committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime sometime in April 2012 or thereabout in Abuja within the federal capital territory under the jurisdiction of this honourable court did, while acting in the course of your official duty corruptly asked for the sum of $3m from Mr Femi Otedola, chairman Zenon Petroleum and Gas LTD on account of intention to afterwards show favour to the said Mr Femi Otedola by removing 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 committee an offence contrary to section 8 (1) (a) of the‎ Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8 (1) of the same Act‎.”
Count three reads: “That you Hon Farouk Lawan (M) while being a member of the house of representatives and Chairman of the ad-hoc committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime sometime in April 2012 or thereabout in Abuja within the federal capital territory under the jurisdiction of this honorable court did while acting in the course of your official duty corruptly obtain the sum of $500,000 (five hundred thousand US dollars ) for yourself from Mr Femi Otedola, chairman Zenon petroleum and Gas Limited as an inducement to remove the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited 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.”
The charges were amended on Thursday, February 19, 2015.

Both men were initially facing a seven-count criminal charge bordering on obtaining $620,000 from Otedola, in order to doctor the committee’s report on fuel subsidy payments in favour of Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd‎.
First arraigned before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi on February 2, 2013, their matter was reassigned to Justice Adebukola Banjoko after Oniyangi was elevated to the court of appeal.
After an objection again before Justice Banjoko, the case was again reassigned to Justice Otaluka.
The defendants were alleged to have conspired, in April 2012, to demand $3million gratification from Otedola to remove his firm from the list of oil companies indicted for the scam.
The prosecution team, led by Adegboyega Awomolo had argued before the court, that the offence contravened the provisions of Section 26 (1) (c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under Section 8 (1) of the same act.
Emenalo was separately accused in Count 7 of receiving $120,000 as gratification from Otedola for the same purpose, an offence which violates Section 10 (a)(ii) of ICPC Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 10 of the same Act.
Having pleaded not guilty to the charges, Justice Banjoko ordered the accused to continue with the bail conditions granted by Oniyangi.‎

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