The Supreme Court has upheld the five-year jail term imposed on Farouk Lawan, a former member of the House of Representatives, affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeal. Lawan was convicted and sentenced in 2021 for accepting a $500,000 bribe from Femi Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd.
In a unanimous decision on Friday, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court agreed with the 2022 judgment of the Court of Appeal, which had affirmed Lawan’s five-year sentence on count three of the three counts brought against him at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Justice John Okoro, who prepared the lead judgment, had it delivered by Justice Tijjani Abubakar. The apex court found Lawan’s appeal to be without merit and dismissed it accordingly.
A Federal Capital Territory High Court had sentenced Lawan to seven years imprisonment for receiving a $500,000 bribe while serving as the chairman of the House’s ad-hoc committee investigating the fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.
The trial judge, Angela Otaluka, held that Lawan demanded $3m and received $500,000 from Femi Otedola in 2012 to remove Otedola’s oil company, Zenon Oil and Gas, from the list of firms indicted for fraud in the fuel subsidy regime.
She also held that Lawan was guilty of all three counts of corruption and bribery.
Not satisfied, Lawan approached the appellate court where his jail term was reduced from seven to five years.
Lawan is at the apex court urging the court to set aside the judgments of the lower court.
Reading the lead judgment, Justice Tijjani Abubakar upheld the decision of the appeal court and dismissed the appeal.