A former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on investigation into fuel subsidy regime, Farouk Lawan, on Thursday, failed to appear before an FCT High Court Apo for the third time, to open his defence in his trial for an alleged infraction in the fuel subsidy regime.
Mr Lawan, former chairman of House Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Regime in 2012, was dragged before Justice Angela Otaluka by 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 case marked FCT/HR/CR/76/13, alleged him to have demanded the sum of three million dollars for himself from the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Femi Otedola.
He was alleged to have collected 620,000 dollars 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.
Mr Lawan however pleaded not guilty to the offence.
Following the failure of his no-case submission, Mr Lawan told the court on January 28 that one of his witnesses, Babangida Abubakar, scheduled to testify for him that day, lost his brother lost his brother.
On February 11, when the case was adjourned to, the former lawmaker, through Benson Igbanoi, who held the brief of Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, said that he was applying for subpoena to compel a former member of the House and Abubakar to come to court to testify for him.
However, on the resumed sitting, Godwin Iyinbor, who held the brief of Ozekhome, informed that the defence was yet to serve the subpoena on the two witnesses.
In view of this, he asked for an adjournment to enable them do the needful by mobilising the court bailiff to serve the subpoena on the witnesses.
The prosecuting counsel Fatogun Eyitayo, holding the brief of Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN, opposed the application for adjournment.
Mr Eyitayo said that at the last adjourned date on Feb. 11, the court indicated that, that would be the last adjournment to be granted the defendant.
Justice Otaluka, however, stated that the failure of the defence to serve the subpoena applied for was deliberate.
She further stated that 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.
Mr Otaluka, however adjourned matter until March 19 for defence.