Lawan Never Took any ‘bribe’ from Otedola | Informed IG of Police promptly on Bribery Attempt
Farouk Lawan released a statement on Sunday through which he denied accepting any bribe money from Femi Otedola to influence the subsidy report. The Chairman of the subsidy probe committee never denied taking $ 500,000 from oil baron Femi Otedola, he did however deny the existence of a videotape, largely because he never suspected its existence.
The Femi Otedola story of “involving the SSS and Lawan initiating the bribe attempt” appear to be part of an intricately woven plot to discredit the House of Representatives report on Fuel subsidy. The presidency is in a predicament over implementing the report as it calls for the punishment of some of his senior aides and campaign contributors, including Femi Otedola, Diezani Madueke (Minister of Petroleum Resources) and Stella Odua (Minister of Aviation).
Farouk Lawan reportedly informed the Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs/Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Adams Jagaban, about the bribe attempt, surrendering the $ 500,000 cash which consisted of ten bundles of mint $ 50,000, attached to a memo.
The memo from Lawan to Jagaban partly reads, “You may please recall that I intimated you of the persistence of Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman Forte Oil, Zenon Oil and AP Petroleum to offer monetary inducement to influence the outcome and Consolidation of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy.
“Attached (to the letter) is the sum of five hundred thousand dollars only offered to me with another promise of two million, five hundred thousand dollars.
I had considered bringing this issue as a matter of privilege on the floor of the House later today when the House sits, but I am concerned the controversy it will generate will dwarf the content of the report which needs public attention so that the necessary reforms in the sector could be effected.
“I however believe that given the desperation of Mr. Otedola, handling this matter in a furious but diplomatic manner is necessary as he has also made some vested threats which put me and members of my Committee in a delicate situation.
“While reporting this matter to you and hoping that appropriate action will be taken, we shall continue to monitor him and if further offers are made, we shall duly handover to your committee.”
The Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar was also informed by the House of the bribery attempt by Femi Otedola, a member of the President’s economic management team.
Based on the letter written to the IG on the bribery attempt, the police ordered a discreet investigation into the matter.
Farouk Lawan informed the law enforcement bodies over two (2) months ago about the bribery attempts, indicating his innocence of collecting the money maliciously.
It is however telling that although the Chairman of Forte Oil claimed to have involved the SSS early enough for them to conduct a sting operation, that there is no evidence of Lawan initiating the bribe proceedings.
According to sources, Femi Otedola called Lawan’s phone over 50 times the night he was given the money.
Secretary to the Ad Hoc Committee, Mr. B. C. Emenalo, also disclosed through a memo to Lawan another bribery attempt by Femi Otedola.
The memo, entitled “Consistent Pressure to Compromise by Managing Director and Chairman, Zenon Oil and Gas, AP and Forte”. It reads: “My earlier report/discussion with you on the above subject matter and your directives refer.
“I wish to inform you that I was on his invitation, at the residence of their(Zenon Oil and Gas, AP, Forte) Chairman, Mr. Femi Otedola in Maitama, (Aso Drive) this morning and he offered me the sum of One hundred thousand US dollars in two bundles of $50,000 each. The money is hereby forwarded as evidence.
“Please find attached the exhibit for onward transmission to the relevant Committee and Leadership.”