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$500,000 ‘bribery’: Farouk Lawan fails to open defence

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A FORMER Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on alleged sharp practices in the fuel subsidy regime in 2012, Farouk Lawan, on Tuesday failed to call witnesses in his defence.

The former lawmaker is undergoing trial at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Apo, Abuja.

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Lawan told the court that his main witness lost his brother to Lassa fever in Kano last Sunday.

The ex-lawmaker is being tried for allegedly accepting $500,000 as bribe for the removal of billionaire businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola’s company’s name, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for alleged fraud in the subsidy scheme.

In a ruling on October 17, 2019, Justice Angela Otaluka, rejected Lawan’s “no-case” submission and held, among others, that contrary to the defendant’s argument, the prosecution made out a prima facie case against him to warrant his being called to enter a defence.

Justice Otaluka ordered Lawan to open his defence on November 11, 2019, which he has been unable to do.

On Lawan’s lawyer Benson Igbanoi said the defendant was ready to open his defence, but could not proceed because his only witness, who ought to testify, could not attend court because he was bereaved.

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