The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, yesterday, dismissed the appeal filed by former House of Representatives member, Farouk Lawan, seeking to terminate the $3 million bribery charges brought against him by the Federal Government. The appellate court, in a unanimous decision, held that a prima facie case was well established against Lawan that warranted him to enter his defence in the three-count charges brought against him since 2013. Delivering judgement in the appeal filed against the ruling of an Abuja High Court which held that Lawan had a case to answer, Justice Olabisi Ige held that the decision of the lower court was well founded. Justice Ige said that contrary to the argument of Lawan, the prosecution’s evidence at the high court was not in any way discredited, hence the rejection of his no-case submission.
The appellate court also held that the language of the trial judge, Justice Angela Otaluka which Lawan complained about did not place Lawan in any disadvantaged position or was in anyway inimical to his trial. Justice Ige, who quoted copiously from the records of proceedings of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, especially the testimonies of the five witnesses called by the Federal Government, upheld the findings of Justice Otaluka that there was sufficient evidence linking Lawan to the offences.
“I am of the firm view and I have no doubt that the oral and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution sufficiently linked the appellant to the charges against him and to warrant his being called upon to make his defence. “Prosecution evidence was not slanted in favour of the prosecution. In all, all the four issues raised in this appeal are hereby resolved against the appellant. His appeal, being unmeritorious, is hereby dismissed,” he said.