Thursday, 20 June 2013

ICPC Opposes Lawan’s Bid To Stay Bribery Proceedings

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on Wednesday opposed an application in which a member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan, asked an Abuja High Court to stay proceedings in his trial.
photo The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on Wednesday opposed an application in which a member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan, asked an Abuja High Court to stay proceedings in his trial.
The lawmaker is facing seven counts bordering on demanding and receiving $620,000 as bribe from a businessman, Femi Otedola.
Lawan allegedly committed the crime while he served as the Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy Regime.
The court, presided over by Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, last May 5, ruled that Lawan must face trial, after refusing an application in which the lawmaker and his co-accused person, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, sought to quash the charges preferred against them.
The accused persons, through their counsel, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), later filed a fresh application, praying the court to stay proceedings in the trial, pending the determination of an appeal they filed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.

At the resumed hearing in the matter on Wednesday, ICPC counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), described Lawan’s bid to stay proceedings as “frivolous, vexatious and a design to stall the trial”.
Awomolo further argued that the accused persons’ prayer was a “grave, serious and fundamental” interruption of the right of the prosecution to prove the alleged criminal conduct against them.
Tarfa had argued that his clients stay of proceedings request was in line with their rights to fair hearing.
According to him, the appeal filed last June 6, raised fundamental questions bordering on the court’s jurisdiction and competence to hear and determine the charges against his clients.
He added, “The continuation of this case while the appeal is pending will render the outcome of appeal nugatory should the Court of Appeal decide the appeal in the accused/applicants’ favour.
“The continuation of proceedings in this suit while the appeal is pending is capable of overreaching whatever decision the Court of Appeal may reach in the final determination since the appeal is challenging the ruling of the trial court holding that it has jurisdiction to hear and determine the charge.”
Meanwhile, Justice Oniyangi will on July 10, to rule on the application.
Lawan and Emenalo had on arraingnment last January 31, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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