New Twist In $3m Fuel Subsidy Probe Bribery Scandal As Fresh Documents Indict Femi Otedola
A new twist has been added to the festering controversy over allegations that the Chairman, House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy probe, Farouk Lawan demanded a $3 million bribe from the chairman, African Petroleum, Mr Femi Otedola as the embattled lawmaker released documents indicting the oil magnate as the one who indeed induced and gave the bribe.
The documents confirmed that the controversial $600,000 bribe was offered to Lawan and secretary to his committee, Boniface Emenalor by Otedola on April 24,that is, six days after the panel submitted its report to the whole House on April 18, 2012. The documents which were leaked today by Lawan’s defence team also confirmed that the probe panel chairman reported and handed over the slush fund to the Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Jagaba Adams Jagaba same day, with handwritten covering notes explaining all that transpired between them and Otedola.
Other documents obtained by ireports-ng.com also revealed that based on an alert raised by Lawan in an interview granted Abuja based Leadership newspaper, the police had since begun a discreet investigation into the bribery allegation raised by Lawan.
A hand-written memo allegedly given to Jagaba with the April 24 date and timed 3.47am says: “You may please recall that I intimated you of the persistence of Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman Forte Oil, Zenon Oil and AP Petroleum to offer monetary inducement to influence the outcome and Consolidation of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy.
“Attached is the sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) only offered to me with another promise of two million, five hundred thousand dollar ($2.5m). I had considered bringing this issue as a matter of privilege on the floor of the House later today when the House sits, but I am concerned the controversy it will generate will dwarf the content of the report which needs public attention so that the necessary reforms in the sector could be effected.
“I however believe that given the desperation of Mr. Otedola, handling this matter in a furious but diplomatic manner is necessary as he has also made some vested threats which put me and members of my Committee in a delicate situation.
“While reporting this matter to you and hoping that appropriate action will be taken, we shall continue to monitor him and if further offers are made, we shall duly handover to your committee.”
Similarly, the Secretary to the Ad Hoc Committee, Boniface Emenalo, in his own memo to Jagaba dated April 24
said: “My earlier report/discussion with you on the above subject matter and your directives refers.
“I wish to inform you that I was on his invitation, at the residence of their(Zenon Oil and Gas, AP, Forte) Chairman, Mr. Femi Otedola in Maitama, ( Aso Drive ) this morning and he offered me the sum of One Hundred Thousand US Dollars in two bundles of $50,000 each. The money is hereby forwarded as evidence.
“Please find attached the exhibit for onward transmission to the relevant Committee and Leadership.”
Part of the documents obtained by ireports-ng.com in Abuja today also indicate that the Inspector General of Police had since May 9, 2012 set up a team headed by a Commissioner of Police, Ali Amodu, to investigate the bribery allegations made in the newspaper interview by Lawan. The correspondences between the police team and Lawan as well as the speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal confirmed this.
With the latest documents, the nation will only need to rely on the outcome of a thorough forensic investigation to determine whose words to believe between the two parties.