An FCT High Court on Thursday fixed May 10 for ruling in an application seeking to quash charges against Farouk Lawan, former Chairman, House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime
Lawan is standing trial alongside his Vice Chairman, Boniface Emenalo, on a seven-count charge of allegedly obtaining N625 million bribe from Mr Femi Otedola, the Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd.
The court, presided over by Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, had reserved Thursday, May 2 to rule on Lawan’s application seeking to quash the corruption charges against him.
However, ruling in the application was stalled due to the absence of the judge.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the judge travelled out of Abuja to attend the burial ceremony of his brother who passed away on Wednesday.
At the last hearing, Defence Counsel, Mr Rickey Tarfa (SAN), brought an application seeking to quash the charges against Lawan and Emenalo.
My lord, this application is seeking an order of the court quashing charges number FCT/HC/CR/76/2013.’’
Tarfa said the application was brought on the ground that the court lacked the jurisdiction and competence to try and determine the offences in the said charge.
He added that the conditions precedent to prefer same had not been fulfilled, thereby rendering the charges incompetent.
The counsel argued that the proof of evidence tendered by the Prosecution Counsel, Chief Adeboyega Awomolo (SAN), did not disclose the commission of any offence by the accused in the circumstance of the charge.
My lord, the charge as constituted is devoid of essential ingredients to suggest the commission of the offences for which the accused stand charged,” Tarfa said.
Awomolo, however, urged the court to reject the application, describing it as frivolous and an abuse of court process.
In view of this, we have filed a 12-paragraph affidavit and written address urging the court to dismiss the application.’’
He said the application sought to determine if the accused were entitled to see the written statement of the prosecution witness.
It also seeks to know whether the court can look at the merit of the application seeking to quash the charges before trial.’’