- Category: SPECIAL REPORTS
- Friday, 29 June 2012
- By Vanguard
Investigations by Police detectives into the $620,000 oil subsidy bribe money collected by Mr Farouk Lawan from oil magnate, Mr. Femi Otedola, have unearthed a wider financial scandal. It was gathered that oil marketers who were indicted in the report recently submitted to the government by the Aigboje Aig-Imoukuede-led panel that
probed the fuel subsidy claims allegedly paid about $10 million as bribe to Lawan committee.
Scam: Hon. Farouk Lawal seating before House Committee on Ethics and Privileges over $620 bribe Scam at National Assembly Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.
Vanguard gathered that while the Aig-Imoukuede-led panel uncovered fraudulent overpayments to many of the oil marketers to the tune of N422 billion, all the oil marketers involved and indicted were invited and interrogated by the Lawan committee but were given a clean bill of health.
80% bribe money collected abroad
It has now emerged that the oil marketers gave bribes in foreign currency to the tune of about $10 million and that over 80 per cent of the bribes given were done abroad as the oil marketers, acting in partnership, sponsored some of the leaders of the House subsidy probe panel to the UK and the US, lodged them in choice hotels and gave them the bribes which influenced their being cleared of any fraudulent practice by the committee.
Sources told Vanguard yesterday that the decision of the oil marketers to give out such huge bribes to the House committee was to enable them use the clean bill of health report card, given by the House, to counter the report that would be presented by the Finance Committee panel.
According to sources, police detectives were shocked to find out that the amount of bribe money collected by the Lawan subsidy probe panel to over N15 billion while many House members who hitherto pretended to know nothing of the $620, 000 collected by Farouk, and even lambasted him over the $3 million scam, are neck deep in the $10 million scam.
The marketers were said to have settled for the Farouk committee because the Aig-Imoukuede panel was a no go area and bluntly told them they were not interested in taking bribes to influence their finding.
When Vanguard sought to know what the Police would do concerning the new discovery about the $10 million bribe money most of which took place abroad, it was told that the Police has its ways and that those involved would be found out.
Reps summon Otedola to appear on July 3
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges has summoned Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Mr. Femi Otedola, to appear before it on July 3.
This was disclosed, yesterday, by the chairman of the committee, Gambo Musa, while briefing newsmen on the proceedings of the committee which interrogated Farouk Lawan over Otedola’s allegation that Lawan collected $620,000 as part of the $3 million bribe he had demanded.
Musa said this had become necessary to enable Otedola respond to some of the revelations made by Lawan when he appeared before the committee.
Lawan who arrived the House Meeting room 4.59, venue of the hearing, at exactly 1.05pm looked relaxed in his white caftan with a white hat to match. However, shortly after saying the prayers and reading his opening speech, Musa ordered journalists out of the venue of the hearing.
In his opening remarks, Musa recalled how the House reconvened early last January, to address the issue of the Federal Government’s withdrawal of fuel subsidy which had sparked off nation-wide protests. He also recalled how the House had set up the Adhoc Committee led by Lawan to probe the fuel subsidy regime and its disbursement adding that the Committee’s report had attracted applause nation-wide after it was submitted.
He further recalled how the activities of the Committee had taken a new twist after Otedola had alleged he gave Lawan $620,000 as bribe for the purpose of delisting Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd. from companies indicted for diverting foreign exchange allocated to them by the CBN for the purpose of importing petroleum products.
Musa further stated that it was the responsibility of the Committee to unravel what actually transpired during its investigations. He had explained that Lawan had to be interrogated in camera to avoid jeopardizing the Committee’s investigations.