The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on drugs, narcotics and financial crimes, Adams Jagaba on Tuesday denied being in possession of the $620, 000 bribe money offered the former Chairman, House ad-hoc committee that probed the management of subsidy fund, Farouk Lawan.
Mr Lawan, in his statement, claimed he formally wrote Mr Jagaba, informing him of moves by oil tycoon, Femi Otedola, to bribe the subsidy probe panel and attached the sum of $620,000 which Mr Otedola paid.
Lawan’s statement to the police said that when he collected the money from Otedola, knowing that it was a set-up, he gave the money to the Chairman of House Committee on Financial Crimes, Jagaba to keep it in safe custody.
It has been anticipated that the House Committee Chairman on Financial Crimes would be invited by detectives to give more details on the whereabouts of the money just as the house reconvenes on Tuesday.
But in apparent denial and clear dissociation from Farouk’s hanky-panky over the money, Jagaba said he has nothing to do with the money and at no time was any money handed to him.
As SSS last week Tuesday stepped in commencing investigation over the scam and just as Lawan owned up after earlier denial there was any such contact with anybody in relation to any subsidy backdoor deal, the state security had urged the Speaker of the House Aminu Tambuwal to rocover the money from Lawan.
The speaker in an apparent snub of Lawan refused the entreaty, claiming his touching the money would mean tampering with the evidence.
In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, titled “Re: investigation activities: request for handing over of exhibits in connection with the case of criminal conspiracy and taking gratification to prevent the course of justice”, Mr Jagaba wrote: “I wish to categorically and unequivocally state that there was never a time I was in possession of the sum of $620,000 USD or any other exhibits (in my personal capacity or official capacity as chairman house committee on drugs, narcotics and financial crimes) relating to the subject matter of the above investigation.
“I hope this explanation lays to rest once and for all the claims that I or my committee is in possession of the sum of $620,000 USD purportedly given as bribe to the ad hoc committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime.”
On Monday, Mr Lawan had reportedly pleaded with the investigators handling the bribery allegations against him to allow him attend the plenary session of the House of Representatives on Wednesday so that he can retrieve the money from Mr Jagaba. Apparently, he was using the narcotic chairman as a cover.
It had earlier been stated that just as the news of the scandal broke, an apparently shaken Lawan in an attempt to turn the case against Otedola approached the Chairman of the House’s Committee on Narcotics and Financial Crimes to appeal to him to tender the money he collected on-camera as evidence of an attempt to bribe the oil committee, but the narcotics committee Chairman refused to be used as a cover up link, claiming that the committee could only have agreed had Lawan come to them before the scandal blew open.
With this letter the Chairman of committee on drugs, narcotics and financial crimes sent to the Speaker of the House, it is unclear which logic Mr Lawan will now use to support claim that he was given bribe money .
Sources also hinted that Lawan’s lawyers are working out the possibility of a major stand-off with the SSS by refuusing Lawan to bring the marked money because it would serve as evidence against their client