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Femi Otedola vs Farouk Lawan: The Allegations & Counter-Allegations of the $620,000 Bribery Scandal

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Farouk Lawan & Femi Otedola

It is one thing to deny collecting a bribe. It sort of puts one in the clear, at least until proven guilty. But it is an entirely different thing to reiterate such statement later on saying you actually collected the bribe just to expose the ‘giver’ of the bribe.

Such is the nature of the controversy currently raging between the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee that probed the fuel subsidy regime, Hon. Farouk Lawan, and the Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas, Mr. Femi Otedola.

In an earlier testimony, Hon. Lawan denied collecting a $620,000 fuel subsidy bribe from Mr. Otedola.

In response to news reports circulating on the alleged bribe, Hon. Lawan, initially issued a statement denying his involvement in the scam.

My attention has been drawn to several newspapers and internet stories alleging that a prominent member of the House Adhoc Committee on Petroleum subsidy demanded and received the sum of $600,000.00 as bribe from an oil marketer.

I wish to categorically deny that I or any member of the committee demanded and received any bribe from anybody in connection with the fuel subsidy probe and I believe this is evident from the thorough and in depth manner the investigation was carried out and the all-encompassing recommendations produced therefrom as approved by the whole House.

He went on to say that the allegations were in an attempt to discredit the Fuel Subsidy report and divert the attention of the public from the real issues of large scale.

Barely 24 hours later, he reversed his earlier statement and admitted that he collected $620,000 from Mr. Otedola to doctor the panel’s report. He told journalists that he collected the money after Otedola approached him, adding that he informed the police and his colleagues about it.

Otedola, on his part, has agreed offering the money to Lawan; adding that it was part of a sting operation initiated by security agencies after he had reported that the committee demanded $3 million from him not to list his companies as part of those indicted in the report.

Otedola had alleged that the lawmaker pressed him for a bribe to remove his firm from the list of companies indicted by his committee for oil subsidy fraud. He said the request compelled him to involve security agencies in a sting to catch Lawan.

The Otedola-security agents’ collaboration was said to have led to a video recording of Lawan receiving a $500,000 bribe with a promise to remove Otedola’s company’s name from the list. The Clerk of the Lawal-led panel, Boniface Emenalo, also received $100,000 as part of the $3m allegedly negotiated with Otedola by Lawan.

In the latest development, Mr. Otedola appeared before the Police Special Task Force in Abuja yesterday to brief investigators on his own side of the story. He reportedly spent about an hour answering questions from detectives in the Special Task force team headed by Commissioner of Police Ali Ahmadu.

The police had invited Lawan but the lawmaker did not honour the invitation to appear before the panel on Tuesday.

However, media reports claim that a police source has established that Mr. Lawan initiated the contact with Mr. Otedola and demanded a bribe in exchange for removing two of Otedola’s firms from adverse reports that would beam an investigative searchlight on the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars in oil subsidy funds.

The police also confirmed that the SSS worked with Mr. Otedola to videotape the bribe and also snooped on several phone conversation between the Zenon executive and the legislator.

Police sources said that they believed Mr. Lawan contacted them to report that he was in possession of bribe money only after he realized that the currencies were marked.

Following Otedola’s statement, the Police authorities, have tagged Lawan as the ‘prime suspect’ in their investigations and are expected to make their move anytime soon.

Otedola said he can’t be accused of being a bribe giver because the money in question was handed to him in its entirety by the State Security Service (SSS).

This latest corruption saga has drawn the attention away from the initial fuel subsidy probe. However, Nigerians and indeed, the international community are eagerly watching to see what would be the outcome of this.

What are your thoughts on the scandal?

News Source: Punch | Daily Times | SaharaReporters

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

45 Comments

  1. Concerned

    June 13, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Its so sad that Nigerians arrogate the designations of “honourable” and “excellency” to very dishonourable people and accord undeserved respect to people who are morally bankrupt. Can these fools at National Assembly ever mean whatever they say or really bring the change that Nigerians need? Its such a shame that even the ones that would termed young or present generation (the Farouk Lawan and Bankoles of the world) aren’t any different from the politicians Nigerians have come to know in the last 30years. How can one accept $620,000 to expose a criminal but waited for the criminal to expose him and inform the world that he offered him bribe before he actually mentioned that such a transaction transpired. This is a clear case of beating one in his own selfish game which is good for Nigeria. More of this so called honourables will be exposed in due cause. This saga is yet to fully unfold and would be a good case study for thesis/dissertation for History, Political Science, Public Aministration and Government students. It would also make a good movie for Jeta Amata to script and screen internationally.

    • AC

      June 13, 2012 at 4:58 am

      Well said

  2. Ben Emma

    June 13, 2012 at 4:24 am

    No matter how controversial OBJ may be, we need to think whenever he talks. “thieves in the national assembly”. I believe he is laughing now. Its turn by turn.

  3. Agbor L O

    June 13, 2012 at 4:27 am

    The creator of heaven & earth will continue to expose the enemies of this country, thieves, lazy opportunists, fraudsters, economy destroyers, dishonoured honourables, who disguise in the name of politics as lambs whereas they are wolves when things like this begin to unfold. Corruption must be banned in this nation by this present govt. It is a duty own the people. WHAT A SHAME!

  4. NC

    June 13, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Look at all that money these politicians keep looting. $620,000 can build schools or provide drinking water for a rural community. Nigeria which way?

    • Soraya

      June 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Do you have problems with English comprehension??? The article says that Farouk Lawan accepted a bribe- quite different from looting- two different things! In any case, both Otedola and Lawan should be charged with criminal offences- Lawan for abusing his public office by accepting a bribe and Otedola for attempted bribery and his role in the petrol scam as well. In fairness to Lawan though, his acceptance of the bribe did not stop him from reporting Otedola on the list of those who have to answer for their role in the petrol scam

    • Non professional opinion

      June 13, 2012 at 11:32 am

      @Soraya I think the article makes it clear that Otedola’s bribe was offered as part of a sting operation in conjunction with security agencies who provided him with marked bills.
      Do you understand what that means? What do you want him to be arrested for. Cooperating with the police?

    • Petrosa

      June 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

      Schools alone you say NC? you dont know how much resources it will improve for us n the unborn children.
      Rural urban and jobless. it will provide the 137kva and run it for years. so dont limit the loot.

  5. Papa

    June 13, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Wahala dey! We’re a relatively young republic. We’ll learn from our mistakes, write our own history, and right our wrongs. Hope dey!

  6. NNENNE

    June 13, 2012 at 5:38 am

    We have began to expose and talk about these things. Indeed , there is hope.
    One day , we will be able to enforce our laws and uphold accountability.

  7. Jerris

    June 13, 2012 at 5:42 am

    It is a big shame that people perceived to be above board are actually enmeshed in corruption. i fear for this country. who will deliver Nigeria from the claws of bribery and corruption. Our leaders have failed us.

  8. Concerned Native

    June 13, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Lets be honest with ourselves, nothing is going to happen to these men. The sss people are just making noice like usual, and when they get the amount of money they want they will make the case go away. I have given up on nigerian law and its government. I blame you the masses that still vote and accolade these thieves after their evils have been exposed just because they dash you a few naira or offer you a job. See how aids to a governor got killed and no investigation was made and all he did was name a street after him, and no indictment. Nigerian society is morally and ethically bankrupt, and it is sad thing. It amazed me how our youths say they will protest and fight-occupy, whatever, and then two days later they are done after receiving hush money. There is no dedication in fighting for what is right or rather no integrity. I fear for this generation, for the white man’s religion and greed have corrupted the morals, integrity and ethics our traditional religion had in place for us. I just hope Nigerians, especially the youth 1yr old to 35years old will have a better government for their children, and that all those that stole the wealth of the country will never eat it in peace and will never know true joy, but that sorrows must follow them from generation to generation, until they repay what they have stolen. So shall it be said, and so shall it come to pass!!!

  9. sylva

    June 13, 2012 at 7:32 am

    A big sori 2 naija masses who are sayin dat lawan or otedola wil b indicted my ppl dat na big lie,b4 otedola cud connive wit d sss he has already bribed dem heavily & lawan being & unwise aboki criminal claimed he inform d security b4 hand why didn’t he blow d trumpet 2 d security immedietly he got d cash b4 d giver.Infact,dtruth lies in d cult of d sss they only knw d truth bt i dnt think they wil spik out,NASS members,sss,police & oil marketers d God of d poor masses wil neva forgiv u ppl 4 d pains u ppl tym

  10. dipo

    June 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

    honestly this is a sign of better things to come

    • Petrosa

      June 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Dont be decieved sir you will be suprised if swept under the rog tommorrow.

  11. nurumusa

    June 13, 2012 at 8:36 am

    faruk lawan.will know with that things!

  12. ediri itevwodia

    June 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

    pls fellow nigeria let us keep on praying for our nation,bcos the last hope of the nation is the church,our leader are stilling this country money,it is the one that they cought they see as thief,what of those that is stilling billion in the secret,it is God that will be fishing them one after the other,if the church fail to pray for this nation then let have it in our mind that another biafra war is coming again,bcos of wath bocoharam are doing,but i still believe that nigeria will bcome what God has destine it to be

  13. El Fuego

    June 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Well, we can only hope 4 d best. Nigeria cup of God’s judgement is almost full; let sit back & watch wat happns 2 ds cohort of Execu-thieves, Legisla-thieves & sick Judi-sharings wen d content of dat cup start spilling. D day of d Lord comes like a thief in d 9t…

  14. Just a guest

    June 13, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Joke! All a big joke. Is this news really? It’s happening every single day.everyone a house member stands to propose or oppose anything, it’s either money has exchanged hands or someone has refused to part with money. My question to those who say lawan is being framed is a simple one, why were 2 of Otedola’s companies dropped from the list in the first instance. How can u come out and cry that u never met or collected monies from Otedola and it was a caricature of u in the video and the next minute you say u collected but only for a reason. Haba Lawan, you are a seasoned politician now, after four terms you haven’t learnt how your colleagues operate? You are greedy oh! You didn’t ‘even send any of your boys to run this errand because you don’t want to share. You wan chop alone. Go and ask Dangote, Femi plays dirty oh! Hope you are ready. I never believed anything will come out of this like every other probe panel. It’s just a way the house members enrich themselves even more. May all of you rot in hell including Otedola cos I know he had a desperate motive when he decided to do this. As for lawan, what goes around comes around, ask etteh. Don’t throw stones from your glass house.

  15. lucky favour

    June 13, 2012 at 9:50 am

    It is a act of wickedness & slavery mentality. Let fight this corruption, together this country will be a country to be celebrated.

  16. damojo

    June 13, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Dear Bellanaija, while I commend you for updating us with happenings in the nation. Let’s not lose focus as to why 60% of your subscribers come here…….WEDDING PICTURESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    • Denise

      June 13, 2012 at 11:19 am

      are you that much of a vacant human being that all you care about it looking at other people’s weddings?? grow a brain, seriously. And start showing an interest in the issues which are affecting your country. Keep up the good work Bella – your online magazine site has grown into so much more than just a wedding website and I commend you and your team.

    • damojo

      June 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Demise or whatever your name is, i usually don’t do this but for ur sake i will! Did u read in-between the lines @all? Where were u when bellanaija was just a blog? If i want to know about happenings in the country, i would gladly visit the online dailies or Nairaland. Bellanaija is beginning to lose its focus, that’s all i meant. U slowpoke nematode! U CROSSED D LINE!!

    • Gidi

      June 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      Subscribers??

    • Denise

      June 13, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      dont mind the girl o….just talking rubbish there because she hasnt been able to feast her eyes on other people’s weddings. When there are serious things happening in our country o, its wedding that this one is worrying about…..

  17. Big Joe

    June 13, 2012 at 10:37 am

    What a shame? How long are we going to continue like this? The youth will chase them away very soon by the grace of God. How can thieves raise a corrupt-free society? They are just there wasting our time. Time shall tell ae I believe that they shall not escaope judgement.

  18. Aiyedeke kerry hope

    June 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

    This marks the beggining of the END of corruption in nigeria.

  19. Bossan haruna

    June 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Where is this country heading to? God will surely deliver us from the hands of the wicked.

  20. Gbemi

    June 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Wow! our security agencies are now using their brains. Thumbs up!
    If they continue like this Boko Haram would soon be history…

  21. Abs

    June 13, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Hmmm so who do we believe? God is watching!

    http://www.abadawoode.blogspot.com

  22. BIMBY

    June 13, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Its not just about exposing them, making noise about the whole drama, and everything returns to normal after a while at the expense of the masses. These idiots need to be jailed. Facing trial and consequently convicting these rogues would serve as a deterrent to others! In my own opinion, exposing corrupt practices and not bringing the erring parties to justice is sickening and makes the Nigerian system look like a toothless dog which it actually is anyway.

  23. concerned

    June 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Honestly, I dont see any reason why a common man should complain about these happenings in Nigeria. God had tested us by giving us the opportunity to change these leaders through a ballot box not only once or twice, but we all failed. Faruk, Otedola, Obasanjo, Goodluck are all birds of thesame feathers and all under one umbrella, the PDP. Some people feel bad just because Lawan is from d north and a muslim, while others feel happy because Lawan is from a particular region. How do u expect this country to move forward. who are we complaining to?

  24. Nath Ekanem

    June 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Oil subsidy probe panel – season 2 episode 4

  25. some where in abuja

    June 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    OBJ said it

  26. konnie

    June 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    the truth is somewhere in the middle

  27. Eke Onu

    June 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    It’s a pity that we can’t trust a single law-maker in this our country despite the huge amount their allocation to themselves yet they are not satisfied.
    I know that God pass all of them and will judge them accordingly. From stealing of ballot box, money, Boko Haramming and now collecting of bribe to doctor report.
    Almighty Lawan Farouk, are this cheap

  28. Jolie

    June 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I want someone to be used as a scape goat, otedola is an individual sooo whatever but faruk should be stripped of his position…. This is madness
    In fact some of us can never see or come across that kind of money in our life time but someone has it cash in their backyard nawa!!

  29. CHARLES ONWUCHEKWA

    June 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    This is very embarrassing, a show of shame and madness.Imagine the amount that is involved. For me both the giver and receiver should be made to face the full wrath of the law. What a country called Nigeria. If i may what does Lawan want to do with this huge sum of money?, for generations to come. This is wickedness and i cry for Nigeria.

  30. opadokun ismail

    June 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    For Allahs sake, I don’t know when this people we call leaders will stop playing with masses inteligence. All dis luks lyk a planed movie directed by d presidencies cabal

  31. Bheky

    June 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    indeed man has dominated man to his own injury!God wil soon pour his rage on all of them,d socalld Executhieves,Legislathieves&Judisharings.
    $620,000!
    Lawan!Lawan!Lawan!cheh!
    infact its only Gods kingdom that can bring us real governance bcus all our leaders are rogues.
    let Gods wil be done on this country!

  32. word

    June 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    The truth of this matter lies with d SSS, bu can they be trusted to speak it n not favour d highest bidder?

  33. citizen

    June 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    It is very ironic dat Obasanjo that was involved in power probe of 16 billion dollars has the gut to call somebody an armed robber. He had d opportunity to fight corruption for 8 consecutive years but busy using EFCC to chase his foes and those against third term bid. Both Lawan and Obasanjo should b brought to book for their offences. All those involved in fuel subsidy scam should also be charged to court. This should not distract our attention from d main issue.

  34. iamfascinating

    June 14, 2012 at 7:00 am

    thieves, both.

    the top anti-aging product retinola nd collagen creams are available at thestunninglady.blogspot.com

  35. Rilwan

    June 14, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Hmm dis means dat we dont have confidence over everybody.

  36. olami

    June 15, 2012 at 5:16 am

    The history of this country can not b told without the disscussing the great impæct the bribry nd corruption had in the reversible development of nig….Due to the lack of knowlegeable governace experience , poor management of public fund, self management , blindfnded to mass nd society development on the part of our past leaders which hd been hinerited the present leaders. infact, today’s system of govment is just a biz venture~lawan farouku nd femi otedola should not be blamed bcus they hinerited system from their FURFATHER

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