Chief Judge Reassigns 2012 $500,000 Bribery Case Against Farouk Lawan
The Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello, has returned the bribery case against a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr . Farouk Lawan, to Justice Angela Otaluka, who had heard the case almost half -way before it was abruptly transferred to another judge last year .
The Punchng reports Justice Bello had, on the basis of a petition authored by Lawan , an ex- Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad -hoc Committee on investigation into fuel subsidy regime in 2012 , transferred the case from Justice Otaluka , who is of the Lugbe Division of the FCT High Court , to Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Jabi Division.
The return of the case to Justice Otaluka was confirmed when the matter came up before her on Monday.
The Federal Government , through the Office of the Attorney -General of the Federation, is prosecuting Lawan on amended four counts of corrupt collection of $ 500,000 out of the $ 3 m bribe he allegedly requested from the Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd . , Mr . Femi Otedola .
Lawan was accused of accepting $500,000 as bribe for the removal of Otedola’s company name, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd . , from the list of firms indicted by the Lawan-led House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012 .
The prosecution had called four out of its five proposed witnesses when the case was abruptly transferred from Justice Otaluka to Justice Halilu in June 2017 .
But the lead prosecuting counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo ( SAN ) , had , though a motion filed before Justice Halilu, challenged the transfer of the case, describing the Chief Judge’s action as illegal .
Justice Halilu , in a ruling delivered on October 17 , 2017 , dismissed the Federal Government ’ s application for the return of the case to the former trial judge .
The prosecution had filed a notice of appeal hinged on three grounds and subsequently an appellant ’s brief against Justice Halilu ’s ruling .
Awomolo contended in the appeal that the transfer of the part – heard case, which was nearing conclusion before Justice Otaluka , to Justice Halilu , was not only wrong but illegal .