From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and the five-year sentence passed on the former Chairman of the then House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy probe, Mr. Farouk Lawan, for bribery.

In a unanimous judgment on Friday, a five-member panel of the apex court dismissed as lacking in merit, an appeal the former lawmaker, who has been in prison custody since 2021, filed to challenge his conviction.

In its lead judgment that was prepared by Justice Inyang Okoro but read on Friday by Justice Tijjani Abubakar, the Supreme Court said it was “crystal clear that failure of the trial court to call for allocution, did not vitiate the sentence passed on the appellant.” A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting at Apo on June 22, 2021, sentenced the former lawmaker to seven years in prison. Justice Angela Otaluka found the four-term lawmaker for Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State, guilty of demanding an aggregate sum of $ 33 million from Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Chief Femi Otedola, to give his company a clean bill of health in the fuel subsidy probe the House of Reps initiated in 2012.

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The trial court held that the defendant acted in breach of section 17 (1) (a), section 8(1) (a) (b) (ii), and section 23 (i) of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000, and committed an offence punishable under section 8 (1) 17 (1) and 23(3) of the same Act.

The court said it was satisfied that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), successfully established a criminal case against the defendant, even as it convicted him on all the three-count charges that were preferred against him.

Whereas, the defendant was handed seven years jail term on counts 1 and 2 of the charge, the court sentenced him to five years on count 3.