Billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, has been scheduled to appear as a prosecution witness before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Lugbe, Abuja, in the ongoing trial of a former Chairman, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan, for alleged bribery.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission is prosecuting Lawan for allegedly collecting $500 000 out of the $3m bribe he requested from Otedola in exchange for the removal of the businessman’s company’s name from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.
The presiding judge, Justice Angela Otakula, on Tuesday adjourned the case till March 7 and 8 to enable the first prosecution witness, Boniface Emenalo, who was then secretary to the Lawan-led committee, to conclude his evidence.
At the resumed trial in Abuja, the prosecutor, Adegboyega Awomolo, informed the court of the refusal of the National Assembly officials to accept payment for the certified true copy of a document he obtained from them.
Attempts by Awomolo to obtain the permission of the court to pay the prescribed fees to the registry of the court was opposed by the defence lawyer, Sekop Zumka, on the ground that the court was not in custody of the original copy of the said document.
Justice Angela Ataluka, in a short ruling, ordered the prosecution to explore the option of making payment to a recognised revenue collecting agency of the Federal Government.
Otedola, the chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, is expected to appear in court as the second prosecution witness on either of the two days, depending on how soon Emenalo concludes his own part.
Otedola was initially scheduled to testify against Lawan on February 2, but the businessman, who was somewhere within the court premises during the proceedings, was said to have taken his leave when it was clear that Emenalo was going to stay much longer in the witness box.
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