Farouk Lawan, former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on fuel subsidy fraud in 2012, has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Lawan was handed the verdict at the Federal Capital Territory High Court on Tuesday by Angela Otaluka, the trial judge. She found him guilty of all the three counts of bribery.
The verdict came after nine years of trial, following an allegation of bribery after a sting operation. Femi Otedola, business man and former oil magnate, had accused the former lawmaker of demanding a $3 million bribe from him, allegedly to remove the name of his business from the list of those indicted for fraudulent oil subsidy payment. Otedola, who said his company was not under investigation by the parliament, reported the matter to the department of state services, DSS. The service arranged a sting operation during which Lawan collected marked money in the sum of $500,000:00 at the residence of the businessman. The operation was recorded.
The judge held that a “case of corrupt practices” had been established against the former lawmaker with “credible evidence”. According to the judge, the defence counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN “established a case of ingredients of corruption” against Lawan who she said “corruptly asked for $3 million and received a $500,000 bribe in two tranches from Femi Otedola.”
The court rejected his plea that Otedola wanted to influence him.