Ruling on an application to quash the charges against former chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on fuel subsidy; Farouk Lawan and the committee’s secretary, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, was stalled on Thursday as the trial judge, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, could not deliver the anticipated ruling owing to bereavement.
An official of the Abuja High confirmed the development to journalist in Abuja and consequently, May 10, was fixed as new date for ruling on the pending application by Lawan and Emenalo.
The duo seeks to have the court quash the 7-count charge preferred against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The anti-corruption agency had put Lawan and Emenalo on trial for allegedly collecting the sum of $620, 000 as bribe from chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas, Mr. Femi Otedola, to delete the names of the latter’s companies (Zenon Petroleum and Gas as well as Synopsis Enterprises Limited), from the list of companies allegedly found to have defrauded the Federal Government of billions of naira.
The defendants however argued that the commission has not established any prima facie case against them to necessitate or warrant their being put to trial.
Their argument was canvassed by their counsel, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), who urged the court to discharge the defendants on the ground that the prosecutor failed to comply with Section 155 (1)(B) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
The application had stalled commencement of trial at the last court hearing, as defence counsel had persuaded the court to hear the aforesaid application first, before going into trial proper.