Nigerian Police authority has named Honourable Farouk Lawan as the prime suspect in the current House of Representatives bribery investigation involving oil subsidy Ad-Hoc committee.
The House of Representatives was, yesterday, recalled from break as the cash for clearance scandal widened with the Police disclosing that other oil industry interests besides Femi Otedola gave bribes in dollars, pounds and local currencies to the committee.
The revelation came as House members resorted to blackmailing the Executive arm of the government, alleging a systematic attempt by the Presidency and other interested parties to damage the credibility of the report produced by the Farouk Lawan led ad-hoc committee.
The committee had been given the responsibility of investigating the implementation of the Federal Government subsidy regime.
It has also emerged that Speaker Aminu Tambuwal refused entreaties from the State Security Service, SSS to retrieve the bribe passed on to Lawan by Otedola. Tambuwal, it was learnt, insisted that his touching the money would mean tampering with the evidence.
The discovery that other oil interest groups allegedly paid bribes to the Lawan committee emerged from the work of the CP Ali Amodu-led Special Task Force investigating the scandal. There were also feelers from the Special Task Force that the $620, 000 bribe money admittedly received by Lawan may have been destroyed.
The Police during the week commenced investigation into an alleged $620, 000 bribe collected by the Chairman of House of Representatives probe committee on oil subsidy, Farouk Lawan
The Chairman of Zenon Petroleum, Femi Otedola on Tuesday at 10:55am appeared before the Special Task Force headed by Commissioner of police Ali Amodu, where he confirmed that he gave the alleged bribe to Mr Lawan.
Mr Otedola who was invited by the Special Task Force team to make a statement on the issue told them that all he had said about the issue so far was the truth, adding that he has nothing to hide
He said that the bribe in question, was given to Mr Lawan who collected $500, 000 in cash and the Secretary of the committee, Boniface Emenalo who collected $120, 000 in two instalments of $20, 000 and $100, 000 respectively.
When reminded that under the laws of the country, the giver and the taker of bribe are both culpable, the oil magnate told the Special Task Force that the money in question was gotten wholesale, from the State Security Service (SSS), adding that it was so done to exonerate himself and to show that he was pressurized against his will to part with the money because he was aware of the implications before the law.
Mr Otedola further gave the police audio and video evidence of how the lawmaker got the first instalment of the bribe and how he demanded the balance.
Besides submitting the video and audio evidence, he told Police investigators how the lawmaker mounted pressure on him with a list of senior officials of the House who he claimed were to be settled with the bribe money.
The oil magnate admitted he gave the money to Mr Lawan to get his oil marketing firm, Zenon Petroleum, cleared of indictment over fuel subsidy fraud that involved several firms and cost the nation more than N1.7 trillion.
Sources say Mr Otedola’s appearance before the Police was on his own volition.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has said that it cannot discuss the issue of bribery allegation against Mr Lawan until Tuesday.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed in response to enquries stated that “no decision can be taken before Tuesday; keep all enquiries till we resume on Tuesday next week.”
The House of Representatives is currently on a one week recess.