Daily Trust (Abuja)

18 January 2013

Nigeria: $620, 000 Bribe - House Says Won't Kill Farouk-Otedola Report - Keyamo Threatens Criminal Action Against Farouk

The House of Representatives has said that it would not bury the report of its Committee on Ethics and Privilege over the alleged $620,000 bribery scandal involving former chairman of the House's adhoc committee on subsidy probe, Rep. Farouk Lawan and oil mogul Femi Otedola.

Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Abuja, House spokesman Zakari Mohammed said it is not in the character of the parliament to bury report.

Mohammed maintained that all the cases would be dealt with by the House on its merit and that rushing to condemn the House over the scandal would not augur well for democratic institutions.

Otedola had admitted to giving Lawan the sum of $620,000 in the wake of consideration of the fuel subsidy report last April in what he called "sting operation" master minded by the security agencies but the State Security Service has since distant itself from the issue.

However, a Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo has demanded the immediate arraignment of Lawan over the bribe scandal.

In a statement Wednesday, Keyamo threatened to file a criminal action in the court against Lawan at the expiration of one week ultimatum to bring him to justice.

He regretted the inability of the police to charge the matter to court by giving impression that it is only the office of the Attorney General of the Federation that can give it directives to that effect. Meanwhile, an Abuja High Court will on January 30 deliver ruling on a preliminary objection filed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and Lawan, challenging the suit by Otedola, who is the owner of Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd, over the move to relist his company among those indicted in the alleged fuel subsidy fraud.

Defence counsels Mike Ahamba (SAN) and Kehinde Ogunwumiju Esq had argued that under section 3 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2004 "no civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member of a Legislative House on words spoken on the floor of the House and/or words written in a report to the House of Representative or its Committee."

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