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Farouk Lawan’s 5-Year Sentence in Femi Otedola’s $500k Setup Upheld By Supreme Court

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Nigeria’s Supreme Court on Friday, January 26, 2024, upheld the five-year jail sentence of former lawmaker and member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan.

The decision affirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had earlier reduced Lawan’s sentence from seven to five years.

The case, which has captivated the nation, stems from a high-profile bribery scandal involving Mr. Lawan, who served as the chairman of the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee investigating fuel subsidy fraud in 2012.

The original trial judge, Angela Otaluka of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, convicted Mr. Lawan on all three counts of corruption and bribery, initially sentencing him to seven years in prison.

Mr. Lawan was found guilty of receiving a $500,000 bribe from businessman Femi Otedola. The bribe was part of a $3 million demand to remove Otedola’s oil company, Zenon Oil and Gas, from the list of firms indicted for fuel subsidy fraud.

The operation, which led to Mr. Lawan’s downfall, was a sting executed by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).

The fuel subsidy regime, under scrutiny during Lawan’s committee probe, was a contentious policy in Nigeria.

The Supreme Court’s dismissal of his appeal, as read by Justice Tijani Abubakar, reinforces the judiciary’s commitment to upholding justice in high-profile corruption cases.

Justice Abubakar stated that the appeal lacked merit, effectively closing the chapter on this prominent case.

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