$620,000 Bribe: Lawan, Emenalo Head for Supreme Court

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A former Chairman, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the Fuel Subsidy Regime, Farouk Lawan, has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court to challenge the judgment of the Court of Appeal which refused to quash the charges of corruption filed against him and the secretary of the committee, Boniface Emenalo.

Lawan and Emenalo were charged with a seven-count charge of receiving $620,000 bribe from the Chairman,  Zenon Oil and Gas, Femi Otedola, to exclude the names of Otedola’s companies, Zenon Petroleum and Gas and Synopsis Enterprises Limited  from the list of companies in the committee’s report following its probe into the fuel subsidy scheme between 2010 and 2011.

When the matter came up yesterday before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of an Abuja High Court, counsel to the accused persons, Akinyemi Aremu informed the court that he had filed a motion for stay of the proceedings, pending the outcome of the appeal he filed at the apex court.

Aremu asked the court for an adjournment to enable him argue his application for stay of proceedings pending before the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division in view of his appeal to the Supreme Court.

The prosecutor, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), although did not oppose the request for adjournment, he told the court that he was disappointed because the application which was filed last Friday, was meant to frustrate the speedy hearing of the matter.

Awomolo, however, asked the court for a short adjournment on the grounds that judicial policy provided that criminal matters be given expeditious hearing.
Justice Banjoko adjourned th the case to October 28 for report on the outcome of the application for stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal or trial.

Following the promotion of Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi to the appeal court, Lawan and Emenalo were re-arraigned before Justice Banjoko.

Their offences included receipt of bribe and abuse of office.
Before yesterday’s adjourned date,  Lawan and his co-accused person had lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal which held that they had a case to answer.

Both the trial court and the appeal court had dismissed the accused persons’ application to have the charges against them quashed.

Justice Oniyangi formerly of the Abuja High Court, in a ruling on May 10, 2013, refused the application to quash the charges and urged the suspects to face trial.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Lawan and Emenalo approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, seeking to set aside the decision of the trial court but the appellate court held in its judgment that the suspects had a case to answer as there was sufficient evidence linking them to the charges.

The court then ordered Lawan and Emenalo to return to the Abuja High Court to face trial, the appellate court also ordered an accelerated hearing of the case against the lawmakers.

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