$600,000 bribery scandal rocks House of Reps

$600,000 bribery scandal rocks House of Reps

A bribery scandal is rocking the House of Representatives, following allegations by the President of Zenon Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola, that he gave $600,00 bribe to the Chairman and Secretary of the House Ad Hoc Committee on the Management of Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo.
Otedola told ThisDay Newspaper that he gave in to Lawan’s persistent demands for ‘settlement’ shortly before the committee tendered its report before the House.
The committee had investigated the theft of N1.7 trillion from the coffers of the Federal Government under the mismanagement of fuel subsidy funds.
A video recording of the discussions between Lawan and Otedola is believed to be in the custody of the State Security Service.
Otedola told the newspaper that he had initially fenced off Lawan when the lawmaker made the demand, on the grounds that his company did not benefit from subsidy funds.
The oil marketer said his company was involved in the lifting and sale of diesel, which is not covered by subsidy.
But, he said Lawan threatened to include his firm as one of those indicted in the mismanagement of subsidy funds.
He said the lawmaker demanded the sum of $3 million to keep Zenon off the list.
Otedola said he then asked how much would be required to make the committee happy, to which Lawan responded $3 million.
“I screamed at him, demanding to know why he was doing this to me. All he said was other marketers were paying up to keep their names out of the report so I should do likewise,” he said.
Otedola revealed that it was this point he decided to involve the security agencies.
He said he then collected serialised dollar bills from security agencies and kept call logs, video and audio recordings of the transaction between himself and Lawan.
He said on April 21, the Saturday before the House plenary, where the report was tendered, Lawan came in person to his residence and collected $250,000 in cash, as the first instalment, “then the next Monday night he came and collected another $250,000.
“On Tuesday, at 9am, just before the House commenced seating, Boniface came and collected another $120,000.”
Otedola confirmed that during the sting, Lawan and Boniface collected a total of $620,000 in three instalments as part of the $3 million demanded from him.
He added that with the $620,000 that had been extorted by Lawan and the committee, during the plenary, Zenon was removed from the list of companies that had bought foreign exchange but did not import products.
Otedola continued, “He (Lawan) now asked for the balance of $2.5 million, but when I told him that I had no money now that the money was in Lagos, he suggested that I should charter a plane to fly the money from Lagos to Abuja.”
However, Lawan told newsmen in Abuja on Sunday that he was not involved in the scandal.
“I categorically deny that I or any member of the committee demanded and received bribe from anybody in connection with the fuel subsidy probe and I believe that this evident from the thorough and indepth manner the investigation was carried out.
“The present mudslinging is not unexpected, in view of the calibre of people whose actions and inactions were found wanting in the report.
“I am aware that in their desperation to discredit the report and divert attention of the public from the resal issues of large scale fraud in high places established in the report, a video footage displaying a caricature of my person allegedly having a dealing with a marketer, reminiscent of the military era when dignitaries were invited to the (Presidential) Villa to watch a video clip of a phantom coup involving Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is already in circulation,” he said.
However, spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wilson Uwujiaren, said the agency had not received the said call logs or bribe video.