2 November 2012

Nigeria: U.S.$620,000 Bribe - Reps Panel to Exonerate Farouk Lawan

Photo: Vanguard
Rep. Farouk Lawan, accused of receiving bribe from oil marketers, could be exonerated.

For lack of evidence, the House of Representatives is set to exonerate the embattled Farouk Lawan from the $620,000 bribery allegation leveled against him by billionaire oil magnate, Mr. Femi Otedola, LEADERSHIP reports.

Also, the Gambo Dan-Musa led House Committee on Ethics and Privileges is set to release next week the report of its in-house probe into the bribery allegation which Otedola alleged would have amounted to $3million before details of the deal leaked to the public.

Addressing newsmen on the state of affairs of the House, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs and member of the Ethics and Privileges Committee, Victor Ogene disclosed that the probe report will be submitted at plenary when federal lawmakers resume from their two weeks break.

The House Committee on Media and Public Affairs also washed its hands of the Clerk of the Ad Hoc Committee that investigated the fuel subsidy regime, Mr Boniface Emenalo who was fingered in the cash-for-clearance scandal.

House spokesman, Zakari Mohammed told newsmen that the Clerk was a civil servant and was being handled in-house by the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).

"The report of the Ethics and Privileges Committee as it concerns Hon. Farouk Lawan is ready and is a question of scheduling. It was supposed to have been tendered before the House before we went on the Sallah break so as soon as we resume for plenary on November 6, the committee will thereafter submit the report." Ogene stated.

In July, Otedola who was supposed to testify on his bribery allegations against the former chairman of Subsidy Probe Committee, Farouk Lawan, insisted that he will only give evidence in public - a situation a member of the Ethics and Privileges panel (preferring anonymity) said informed the panel's decision to clear Lawan of complicity in the alleged bribery plot.

"Of course, an allegation remains an allegation until proven. Femi Otedola who made the allegations refused to give his testimony before the committee, so we had no basis to pursue further punitive measures against Farouk Lawan since nothing was proven," the committee member told LEADERSHIP.

Otedola in a purported sting operation reportedly sanctioned by Nigeria's State Security Service (SSS) video tapped the $620,000 bribe offered Lawan to clear Otedola's oil firm, Zenon, earlier indicted for fuel fraud investigated by the Lawan led House panel. Lawan insisted that he took the money as evidence.

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