A former member of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Farouk Lawan, who was convicted by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on June 22, 2021, on a three-count charge of soliciting a bribe, agreeing to accept a bribe of $500,000 bribe from a businessman, Femi Otedola, is seeking to overturn his conviction.
He appealed the February 24, 2022 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sentenced him to a five-year jail term and discharged him on two out of the three counts on the corruption charge brought against him by the Federal Government.
A five-member panel led by Justice John Okoro of the Supreme Court scheduled judgment for January 26, 2024, after lawyers made their final submissions and adopted their written briefs. Lawan’s appeal, marked SC/CR/616/2022, argued that the Court of Appeal should let him off the hook concerning the third count as it shares the same ingredients as the first two counts on which he was discharged.
Lawan’s lawyer, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), urged the court to take the bail application first, citing his client’s stage three prostate cancer. However, the court opted to take the main appeal as it was already ripe for hearing. Daudu applied to withdraw the bail application, following which the main appeal was taken.
Mr Daudu urged the court to allow his client’s appeal and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
In a counter-reaction, a lawyer to the Federal Government, Bagudu Sanni, urged the court to affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal and dismiss the appeal.
The Court of Appeal had reduced Lawan’s initial maximum jail term from seven to five years.
The Supreme Court’s judgment will determine whether Lawan’s appeal succeeds or fails.