Oil magnate, Femi Otedola, yesterday, stoked his charge against
embattled Rep. Farouk Lawan, by handing over to the police, audio and
video evidence of how Lawan got the first installment of the bribe and
how he demanded the balance.
Sources close to Otedola said that
besides submitting the video and audio evidence,he told Police
investigators inAbuja how Farouk mounted pressure on him with a list of
senior officials of the House who he claimed were to be settled with the
Meanwhile political leaders from Lawan’s political base inKanohave disowned him.
The evolving scandal nonetheless, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC
waded in yesterday with an admonition that the bribery scandal should
not in anyway distract from the process of implementing the
recommendations originally reached by the Lawan committee.
Meantime, the House leadership was last night meeting on how to
respond to the damaging revelations spewing from the scandal. Among the
options as learnt is to bring forward the House resumption from the
scheduled Tuesday, June 19, 2012.
Sources close to Lawan were still upbeat, yesterday, insisting that
the Police was working on the call logs in its custody, with which they
were expected to clear the embattled lawmaker.
Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Petroleum appeared before the Special Task
Force constituted by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar
at precisely 10.55 a.m. yesterday. He told the panel headed by
Commissioner of Police Ali Amodu that Lawan collected $500, 000 in cash
and the Secretary of the committee, Boniface Emenalo collected $120, 000
in two installments of $20, 000 and $100, 000 respectively.
The video evidence
He produced a video recording of Lawan collecting the $500,000 in his residence and disclosed that the money in marked
notes was provided by the SSS. He also disclosed that Lawan made
“desperate” efforts to collect the balance of the money subsequently.
According to Otedola, Lawan said the money was to be distributed to
other members of the House of Representatives who could help in
suppressing the indictment of Otedola or his companies.
Otedola told the police that the persistent demands by Lawan for the
balance of the bribe made on telephone were recorded in audio format.
Both the audio and video recordings of the transactions were submitted
A source privy to the developments disclosed: ”Farouk put pressure
and kept on calling for the balance and when the pressure became
unbearable, Otedola said that the two agreed that the balance should be
flown in a chartered plane toAbuja. However, on the day the money was to
come, Farouk said he would be in plenary and gave Otedola a name and
phone number of somebody who would meet him for the money.”
Asked if the Police had recovered the money, a senior officer close
to the investigation said yesterday: “First of all, the money was at no
time handed over to the Inspector General of Police. Secondly, we have
asked Hon. Lawan and the House to hand over the money to us and so far
they have refused.
“We are told that the money will be kept as exhibit and only
presented in a court of law. The question arising now is when has the
House of Representatives become a security agency. What about the fear
of tampering with the money, how do we guard against it if the money
remains with the House?”
On what the next line of action would be if the House continues to
hold on to the $620, 000, the source said, “The IGP who is the one
investigating the scandal is currently on official assignment outside
the FCT. As soon as he comes back, he will give us directives on what
to do and we will take it from there”.
Otedola’s appearance before the Police yesterday was on his own volition Vanguard
learnt yesterday. Sources close to him disclosed that Otedola went to
the Police to give them the evidence of the alleged bribery following
earlier denials put forth by Lawan.
Confusion trails Lawan’s documents
confusion yesterday trailed the documents put forth by Lawan in which
he claimed that he had written the leadership and the Chairman of the
House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Adams Jagaba.
He first denounced the claim on Monday night, saying “there is no
connection between my committee and the fuel probe committee and I was
not given anything please thank you for calling to confirm from me.”
Yesterday, he turned hostile as reporters sought clarifications from
”I have told you not to call me again on this matter; no comments,”Adamssaid.
Meanwhile shock and disappointment was evident in Lawan’s
constituency in Shanono,Kanoyesterday as news of the scandal filtered
among the people the embattled Lawan has represented since 1999.
Ali Katako, Commandant Bagwai unit of Askarawan Kwankwasiyya, a group
associated with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP noted that the
development is self imposed, adding that ”the only regret we seem to be
nursing now is that this development has put us on bad light”.
Similarly, the Bagwai PDP council chairman, Alhaji Inuwa Zangina Dangada on his part said “if in the end a prima facie is established against the lawmaker, he should be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
In Shanono Local Government, a stalwart of All Nigerian Peoples
Party, Abubakar Usman, revealed that the lack of sympathy for the
embattled legislator emanated from his own negligence.
“You only identify with someone that recognizes your existence but go
round and find out whether anyone from this town appears to have shown
concern on what has befallen a man they can legitimately claim to be one
He said that Lawan has not impacted on his people, and no traces of
his developmental project in any of the two local Government councils
that made up the Federal constituency.