An Abuja High Court today remanded Honourable Farouk Lawan in Prison, the Presiding judge Justice M.N Oniyangi held that the duo Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo are to be remanded in prison till Feburay 8th when the their trial on the case would be heard.
It will be recalled that after months of hullabaloo of whether their case will be taken up or not, the federal Government yesterday filed charges against the duo Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo.
The duo of the Lawan and Emenalo were charged to court on Thursday by the attorney general of the federation on a four count charge bothering on demanding and collecting bribes and are being charged under the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act.
It was alleged that they conspired to corruptly obtain $3 million from the chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas, Femi Otedola, as inducement to remove the name of the company from the House of Representatives Ad – Hoc Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy Regime’s Report, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 26 (1) © of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1) of the same Act.
Emenalo too, was charged for failing to report the offer of inducement to other members of the committee to which he was a secretary and for demanding and collecting gratification of $120,000 dollars from Otedola.
This is the second law suit Lawan is facing for demanding and obtaining bribe from Otedola to doctor the report of the House committee on fuel subsidy which he chaired. Otedola has already filed a civil suit against Lawan and Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal in a N250bn case of harassment, intimidation and business loss.
But the duo had contended that the FCT High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case, arguing that since the House is an organ of the federal government, they can only be sued at a Federal High Court.
The court upheld Otedola’s arguments against Tambuwal and Lawan and ordered them to file their defense while dismissing their two separate objections raised by the lawmakers.
Lawan however, objected to hearing of the case pleading House Immunity and arguing that he cannot be taken to court for either civil or criminal matters on actions taken on the floor of the House.
The two defendants also asked the court to dismiss the suit for being too hasty because the House has not adopted the report on the subsidy probe or come up with a White Paper on the matter. Counsel to the defendants also argued that Otedola freely gave the bribe and cannot allege harassment and intimidation against their clients.
However, Justice Peter Kekemeke held that Tambuwal and Lawan cannot claim immunity from legal action for wrongful acts carried against the plaintiff outside the House.
He said it was not part of the terms of reference of subsidy committee to ask for bribe from anybody and as such the accused cannot hide under the Immunity conferred on them while on the floor of the House to void the case.