Northern Nigerian Breaking News

BREAKING: Appeal Court affirms Farouk Lawan’s conviction, reduces jail term

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the conviction of a former lawmaker, Farouk Lawan, for receiving $500,000 bribe during a legislative probe into the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.

But the decision, on Thursday, came as a narrow approval of Mr Lawan’s conviction, as the court discharged and acquitted the former lawmaker on two of the offences he was earlier jailed for by the lower trial court in June last year.

Mr Lawan also got a reduction of his jail term from seven to five years.

This arose from his acquittal regarding two of the counts punishable by seven years jail term.

The court affirmed his conviction on the only remaining offence which the lower court punished with five years jail term.

elsamad new

Dismissing the first two counts, a three-member panel led by the court’s president, Monica Dongban-Mensem, ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that Mr Lawan demanded and agreed to accept $300 milllion from billionaire oil mogul, Femi Otedola, to exonerate the businessman’s company from the list of firms indicted for fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.

But the Court of Appeal’s panel affirmed the decision of the lower court that Mr Lawan, indeed, accepted $500,000 bribe from Mr Otedola. The lower court had jailed Mr Lawan five years for this offence.

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The Court of Appeal affirmed both the conviction and the sentence passed by the lower court on the offence, but discharged and acquitted him regarding the two other counts of demanding and agreeing to accept $3million from the Mr Otedola to clear his company.

The trial judge, Angela Otaluka, of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, had after over nine years of trial, convicted the former lawmaker on all the three counts preferred against him by the prosecution.

She convicted Mr Lawan of corruption, corruptly demanding $3 million, and eventually taking $500,000 from Mr Otedola to exonerate the businessman’s company from an indictment of fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.

The judge sentenced Mr Lawan to seven years imprisonment on each of the first two counts and to five years in the third count. She ruled that the sentences should run concurrently, implying that the convict was to spend seven years in jail.

But Mr Lawan, dissatisfied with the decision, filed an appeal against it.

He raised six issues with the judgement but only one, which earned him an acquittal regarding two of the three counts, were resolved in his favour.

More soon….

PT

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