• To remain on old bail
Former chairman, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan and its ex-secretary, Boniface Emenalo were yesterday re-arraigned before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Gudu, Abuja.
The seven-count charge against them bordered on receiving of bribe and abuse of office.
This include the allegation that they received $620, 000 as bribe from the Chairman, Zenon Oil and Gas, Femi Otedola, to exclude the names of Otedola’s com panies-Zenon Petroleum and Gas as well as Synopsis Enterprises Limited, from the list of companies found to have allegedly defrauded the Federal Government of billions of naira.
The lawmakers were earlier arraigned on the same charge before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi formerly of the FCT High Court, Abuja before his elevation to the Court of Appeal some months ago.
Justice Oniyangi’s elevation informed the transfer of the case to a new judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, before who the accused persons took their fresh pleas yesterday.
When the case was called, lead prosecution lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) informed the court that the business of the day was for the accused persons to plead to the charge afresh.
When asked by the judge if there was any application pending at the Court of Appeal in relation to the case, he said no, a position the lead defence lawyer, O. Jolaawo also confirmed.
Upon listening to the charge read to them by an official of the court, Lawan and Emenalo pleaded not guilty.
Jolaawo later applied to the court to allow the accused persons continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by the former trial judge. The prosecution lawyer did not object to the application that the accused persons be allowed to remain on the earlier bail.
The judge, however, insisted on sighting the three men, who stood surety for the accused persons before the earlier bail was granted, to know if they were willing to remain sureties. The case was stood down on that note to allow the sureties, who were not in court, to physically appear in court.
About an hour later, the proceedings resumed following the arrival of the three sureties in court. Justice Banjoko asked them if they were willing to remain sureties for the accused, to which they chorused yes.
Ruling, the judge ordered Lawan and Emenalo to remain on the earlier bail granted by Justice Oniyangi and adjourned to July 7 for further hearing.