FG To File Charges Against Farouk Lawan Over $620,000 Bribe

After over five months of delay, the federal government has finally agreed to begin the trial of the House of Representatives member, Mr. Farouk Lawan for allegedly demanding and receiving $620,000 dollar bribe.

As the Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Probe, Mr Lawal is alleged to have negotiated the sum of $3million as bribe and collected $650,000 from the Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Femi Otedola.

Court details obtained by Channels TV reveal that the embattled lawmaker will now be prosecuted by the Federal Government for receiving bribe, breach of trust and stealing, along with one official of the National Assembly.

Mr. Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) is expected to lead federal government’s legal team.

Already, the leave of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has been secured by the Federal Government to slam the criminal charges against Farouk at the High Court Four in Maitama.

Although a copy of the criminal charge could not be obtained by Channels TV at press time, it was gathered that all necessary documentary and oral evidence have been sufficiently assembled to facilitate diligent prosecution.

This is coming a week after constitutional lawyer, Festus Keyamo, entered a 4-count criminal charge against the lawmaker for allegedly collecting the sum of $3million as bribe from Mr Otedola.

The lawyer had earlier given the Federal Government a  seven day ultimatum to commence the trail of the lawmaker or he would proceed to court and file charges against him.

$620,000 Bribe: Keyamo Threatens To Sue Lawan

With the failure of the National Assembly to take any action on the $620,000 bribery scandal, involving Representative Farouk Lawan, a Lagos based lawyer, Festus Keyamo has vowed to head for the court, if the police fail to arraign the embattled lawmaker.

Mr Keyamo, in a statement on Wednesday, advised the Nigerian Police Force not to wait for the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), but to go ahead and charge the legislator to court.

“I have taken it upon myself as a responsible citizen to bring Farouk Lawan to justice. By this statement, I expect that he and his cohorts in the House of Representatives should be arraigned before a court of law within one week” the fiery lawyer warned.

Describing the delay in seeking prosecution by the security agency as “absurd dimension”,Keyamo decried the back and forth blame games being played by the Nigeria Police Force and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

“The public has been treated to all sorts of shameless and obvious attempts to drag the investigation into the murky water of politics instead of treating it purely as a crime” he stated.

Explaining why the police is empowered by law to seek prosecution without an authorization from the AGF, Mr Keyamo stated that, “the law presently as espoused by the Supreme Court in the case of FRN Vs. OSAHON (2006) 5 NWLR PT (Pt. 973) 361, says that the Police and other law-enforcement agencies can directly charge matters to court without the consent or fiat of the Attorney-general of the Federation or of any State.”

“The Attorney-General can only intervene by taking over to continue or discontinue the proceedings.”

“What, then, is the Police waiting for?” he asked, adding that “the real intention is to make the public forget about the matter and for us to move on with our lives. I will not forget.”

The House of Representatives made no mention of the bribery case at the resumed plenary session on Wednesday.

According to the lawyer, the bribe giver, Mr Femi Otedola “committed no offence at all.”

“A man, who reports an attempt at a crime to the authorities and plays along to catch the offender, commits no crime. Even laymen know this position of the law” he concluded.

It is over six months since the scandal broke regarding the collection of $620, 000 by Mr Lawan from oil mogul, Mr Femi Otedola for the purpose of doctoring his committee’s report relating to the fuel subsidy scam probe by the House of Representatives.

Otedola appeals to court to hear his N250billion suit against Tambuwal and Farouk Lawan

Oil mogul, Mr Femi Otedola has asked an Abuja High Court to allow and sustain the N250 billion suit he filed against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and former chairman of the Fuel Subsidy probe committee, Representative Farouk Lawan.

Mr Otedola in the suit alleged that he suffered harassment, intimidation and some business losses from the defendants.

Counsel to the oil mogul, Mr Babajide Kokusan told the presiding judge, Justice Peter Kekemeke, that the law makers should not be allowed to hide under any legislative immunity to escape the action they committed outside their legislative powers.

Reacting to the lawmaker’s plea that suit action be dismissed because they cannot be sued on any action carried out on behalf of the house, Otedola’s counsel argued that the defendants were sued in their personal capacities for the intimidation he (Femi Otedola) suffered from phone calls before he parted with $620,000 out of $3million bribe demanded and collected by Mr Lawan.

He insisted that legislative immunity cannot be used to defend the allegation of request and receipt of bribe and asked the judge to make the two defendants defend themselves as allowed by law.

Mr Kokusan also objected to the prayer of Tambuwal and Farouk that the Federal High Court and not Abuja Court can adjudicate over the matter because the House of Representatives was an agency of the federal government.

His counsel argued that the case of Otedola and Zenon Oil Ltd was on the demand for bribe with the use of harassment and intimidation and not an attack against the fuel subsidy or the report of the subsidy committee.

He further adds that the issue of jurisdiction of a court in any matter could be determined by the nature of reliefs, facts and statement of claims and that since the suit did not challenge the revenue of the federal government or the administrative decision of the national assembly, an Abuja High Court has the power and jurisdiction to hear the case.

The Speaker of the House of Representative and Mr Lawan had through their counsels, Kehinde Ogunwumiju and Mike Ahamba opposed the suit filed by Otedola.

They claimed that the two lawmakers enjoy absolute legislative immunity for words spoken on the floor of the house.

Justice Kekemeke will however rule on January 30 on whether to maintain or strike out the case.