24 January 2013

Nigeria: Keyamo Prepares Draft Charges Against Lawan

Following the expiration of the ultimatum to the police to charge Farouk Lawan, Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, has prepared a draft charge against the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Education.

The draft charge, which was sent to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), was accompanied by a letter requesting the AGF to indicate whether he was prepared to prosecute or not.

He attached to the criminal charge, proof of evidence, a recording of a telephone conversation between Lawan and Femi Otedola contained in a memory card wherein Lawan was allegedly soliciting or asking for gratification to doctor his report, and appealing to Otedola to keep it secret.

Also included were the transcript of the said recording and court processes (including a sworn testimony on oath) in Suit No. FCT/3839/2012: Between Zenon Pet. & Gas Ltd. & Anor. V. Lawan & Ors, where the graphic details of how the accused persons solicited for, and received gratification from Otedola were stated.

Excerpts from the letter to the AGF read: "Last week, I gave a seven-day ultimatum to the police to commence prosecution of one Farouk Lawan, a member of the House of Representatives and his accomplice, one Boniface Emenalo, for agreeing to and actually accepting gratification from one Femi Otedola in order to doctor the report of the House ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy.

"From reports I read in the media after issuing my ultimatum, the police have passed the buck over to your office for the inaction so far, claiming it has finished the investigation and that your office has just refused to file charges for reasons unknown to the public.

"It is for the above reasons I have prepared a charge (attached herewith) for the purpose of private prosecution.

"May I kindly request that, by virtue of Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Act, Cap. C41, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, you endorse on the charge whether, having seen the charge, you are prepared to prosecute Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo for the counts in the charge or whether you have declined to prosecute at the public instance the counts in the said charge.

"The position of the law is that, before I commence private prosecution, you should be given the opportunity to prosecute or to decline to prosecute. This is what I have done by this letter.

"I will expect your reply by the close of official business on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, to enable me determine my next line of action."

Keyamo expressed hope that the AGF would make his decision known, adding that any form of indecision by the AGF would amount to a refusal to act as requested.

He listed as witnesses for the case: Otedola, officers of State Security Service (SSS), officers of the Nigerian Police Force, officials of Zenon Petroleum & Gas Ltd and Clerk, House of Representatives.

Also attached were the transcripts of the conversation between Lawan and Otedola.

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