The federal government will today arraign the former chairman of the House of Representative Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Hon. Farouk Lawan, and the secretary of the committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, before an Abuja High Court for allegedly receiving $620, 000 bribe from a businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, to remove his two oil firms, Zenon Petroleum and Forte Gas Ltd, from the list of companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scam.
Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of an Abuja High Court has granted the federal government the permission to prefer a criminal charge under Section 185 (b) of the Criminal Procedure Code against Lawan and his co-accused.
Farouk and Emenalo will today take a plea of 'guilty' or 'not guilty' to a seven-count charge filed on behalf of the federal government by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN).
The charge, which was signed by the federal director of public prosecutions of the federation (DPP), Mrs. O. O. Fatunde, accused Lawan and Emenalo of conspiring in April 2012 to collect $3million gratification from business mogul Otedola, to remove his firms from the list of those implicated in the oil subsidy scam, an offence contrary to Section 26 (1) (c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under Section 8 (1) of the same Act. It also accused Lawan of corruptly obtaining $500, 000 from Otedola, for the purpose.
In the fifth charge, Emenalo was alleged to have corruptly asked for $3million from Otedola to remove the name of his company from the list of companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scam, thereby violating the ICPC Act, 2000.
He was also accused of receiving gratification from the oil magnate and refusing to report the offer of gratification to any officer of the ICPC, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 23 (1) of the ICPC Act and punishable under Section 23 (3) of the same Act.
Emenalo was also accused in count seven of receiving $120, 000 as gratification from Otedola for the same purpose, an action that violates Section 10 (a)(ii) of ICPC Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 10 of the same Act.
LEADERSHIP recalls that at the wake of oil subsidy crisis in January 2012, the House set up an adhoc committee headed by Lawan to probe the suspicious oil subsidy regime.
The committee indicted some oil companies and individuals of short-changing the subsidy regime to the tune of N1.7trn, but it ran into trouble when Otedola blew the whistle on the committee's chairman, Lawan, and secretary, Emenalo, saying they had solicited and collected bribes from him.