Our Reporter

A former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Investigation into Fuel Subsidy Regime, Farouk Lawan, on Thursday in a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Apo, for the third time, failed to open his defence in his trial for an alleged infraction in the probe.

Lawan was dragged before Justice Angela Otaluka by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

He was a four-term member of the House of Representatives who represented Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State between 1999 and 2015.

The former lawmaker was alleged to have demanded $3 million for himself from the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Femi Otedola.

Lawan was alleged to have collected $620,000 out of the amount with a view to removing Otedola’s companies’ names from the list of firms indicted by the ad hoc committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.

He pleaded not guilty to the offence.

Following the failure of his no-case submission, Lawan had told the court on January 28 that one of his witness, Babangida Abubakar, lost his brother.

Abubakar was scheduled to testify for him that day when he lost his brother.

On February 11, when the matter was adjourned, the former lawmaker, through Benson Igbanoi, who held the brief of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said he was applying for subpoena to compel a former member of the House and Abubakar to come to testify for him.

But on the resumed sitting, Godwin Iyinbor, who held the brief of Ozekhome, informed the court that the defence had not served the subpoena on the two witnesses.

He asked for an adjournment to enable them mobilise the court bailiff to serve the subpoena on the witnesses.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Fatogun Eyitayo, who held the brief of Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), opposed the application for an adjournment.

Eyitayo averred that at the last adjourned date on February 11, the court indicated that it would be the last adjournment to be granted the defendant.

Justice Otaluka held that the failure of the defence to serve the subpoena applied for was deliberate.

She said the case was a criminal matter which ought to be held on day-to-day basis, in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (AJCA).

The judge adjourned the matter till March 19 for defence.