The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, reduced the jail term of a former House of Representatives member, Farouk Lawan, from seven to five years, following his appeal of the earlier sentence.
Lawan was convicted by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on June 22, 2021, on three counts of soliciting bribes, agreeing to accept bribes and accepting the sum of $500,000 bribe from a businessman, Femi Otedola.
Justice Angela Otaluka of the High Court of the FCT sentenced Lawan, who represented the Bagwai and Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State, to seven years on count one, seven years on count two, and five years on count three.
In a unanimous judgment on Thursday, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, led by the court’s President, Justice Dongban-Mensem, nullified Lawan’s conviction on counts one and two.
The court held that the prosecution failed to prove both counts relating to demanding and agreeing to accept a $3m bribe from Otedola.
The appellate court established that the prosecution was only able to prove the third count that related to his accepting $500,000 bribe.
To this extent, the court acquitted Lawan on counts one and two on which he was each sentenced to seven years, but convicted him on count three on which he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.