//
you're reading...
Issues In The News

Fresh scandal brews over Farouk Lawan’s $600,000 bribery scandal

CAUGHT ON TAPE RECEIVING BRIBE – NaijaPundit

[Vanguard] There are indications that fresh trouble is brewing  at the House of Representatives over allegations that Chairman of the House’s Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Hon. Farouk Lawan was involved in a bribery scandal worth $600,000 last month.

Already there are speculations that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may have invited Hon Lawan over the bribery allegation which sources say have already resulted in the Speaker of the House Hon. Aminu Tambuwal disowning the legislator over the messy incident.

It was gathered that Tambuwal had confronted Lawan over the issue in a meeting of Principal officers of the House where the Chairman of the Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy was summoned to defend himself over the allegation.

Sources said  that Hon. Lawan had initially denied the allegation when it was put to him by the Speaker but froze in shock when he was confronted with details of what transpired at the  address where officials of an unnamed oil company had  given him the huge amount of foreign currency which had been marked.

It was further gathered that unknown to Hon Lawan, the entire incident was recorded by video after which copies were sent to a former Head of State who handed it over to Tambuwal.

It would be recalled  that in the wake of the controversy that was generated over the Federal Government’s planned total withdrawal of subsidy from  petroleum products last January,  the House of Representatives set up  the Adhoc Committee to probe how the subsidy fund that was appropriated by the National Assembly in the past had been disbursed.

Among the findings of the House was that despite the fact that only N400 billion was appropriated for payment of oil subsidy in 2011, over one trillion naira was spent.  It was also alleged that a lot of the payments were made to phoney companies.

View original article here

Caught on Camera Bribery Latest: Farouk Lawan Claims He Collected Money to Use As Evidence!

•Lawan

ABUJA-Hon. Farouk Lawan, the man at the center of the ‘caught on camera bribe’ now claims that he only collected the bribe to use as evidence against the oil cabal but his colleagues are not buying his story because he waited until he was exposed to make the claim and did not inform any member if the house until the security services blew the lid of the deal.

Also, more details are emerging as to what transpired. The whole saga began after the SSS got a tip that the House Adhoc Committee probing the Fuel Subsidy regime had been receiving bribes from different quarters to influence their report and sex it up to embarrass the government.

Investigations then commenced which established the truth of the matter. At this point a plot was hatched to entrap the chief bribe taker, which was the head if the commitee, Farouk Lawan.

A camera concealed in a pen was handed over to Femi Otedola, CEO of Zenon Oil, who had a meeting with Farouk Lawan whbe negotiated a $3 Million dollar bribe with Otedola and collected a down payment of $600K.

Lawan then kept quiet and concealed receipt of the money from all and sundry and after the report was released he approached Otedola to collect the balance of his money. It is known that Lawan plans tocontest for Kano State governor in 2015 and needs a financial war chest for the contest.

However, when the scandal broke, Lawan in an attempt to turn the case against him approached a member of the House’s Committee on Narcotics and Financial Crimes to appeal to them to tender the money he collected on-camera as evidence of an attempt to bribe him, but the committee members refused to be used claiming that they could only have agreed had Lawan come to them before the scandal blew open.

Meanwhile, Lawan’s commitee members have expressed disappointment in the fact that Lawan could collect such a huge sum without putting them in the picture.

In related news, the House Spokesman, Hon. Zakari Muhammad, has issued a statement washing the hands of the House of the Farouk Lawan bribery and stating that the House will not cover up anybody’s alleged crime and would allow the rule of law to run its course.

The allegation of the bribery blew open after former President Olusegun Obasanjo alleged that there were thieves and armed robbers in the National Assembly and state legislative houses, and the Speaker of the House Hon. Aminu Tambuwal  travelled to the former president’s Ota residence to seek audience with him over the statement.

It was gathered that Obasanjo showed Tambuwal a certain video recording which showed the committee member collecting a huge amount of foreign currency ( said to be $600,000) from some oil company officials.

Tambuwal was said to have been rudely shocked by the video Obasanjo showed him to justify why he made his controversial allegation against the lawmakers.

It was gathered that the Speaker confronted the committee member over the issue in a meeting of principal officers of the House where he had been summoned to defend himself.

There were speculations, at the weekend, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had invited the House adhoc committee member for interrogation but this could not be confirmed.

Reacting to the scandal, yesterday, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mohammed, in a statement, said “The attention of the House of Representatives has been drawn to reports alleging that one of its members, has, in the course of his committee work as a member of the ad hoc committee which investigated the subsidy regime, allegedly received a gratification from an oil baron to exonerate his companies from complicity in the oil subsidy scam.

“While we await investigation into these weighty accusations, we wish to state without equivocation that this Honourable House will never take side with corruption and we will always stand on the side of the rule of law.

“The reason we inaugurated the ad hoc committee to look into the controversial subsidy regime in the first place was to expose corruption in the sector, as such, we cannot, for whatever reason, support any underhand dealing from any quarter.

“However, these accusations, what ever their merits, do not detract from the quality of the work done by the committee. The report of that committee was adopted by the whole House and we stand by the resolutions of the House.

“The present House of Representatives will not relent in it’s efforts to render quality legislation and oversight functions to Nigerians. Today, we are gradually beginning to see the end of this monstrosity that has bedeviled our progress as a nation for so long.

“We hope that the Executive will not, because of this allegation, abandon it’s commitment towards bringing to justice, the culprits already identified in the committee’s report.”

It would be recalled that the Speaker had heaped praises on the Committee when it submitted its report which was subsequently adopted by the entire House”.

UPDATE:

….says video clip is a caricature meant to blackmail him

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Hon. Farouk Lawan, has denied media reports that a top member of the committee received $600,000 bribe from an oil marketer to influence the report.

Lawan told journalists in Abuja last night that he neither demanded nor collected money from “anybody in connection with the fuel subsidy probe.”

In a situation where the Committee uncovered fraud over N1 trillion, Lawan said  it should be expected that the powerful cabal behind the high scale corruption in the oil sector would not only fight back but would fight dirty.

Denying ever meeting the unnamed oil marketer at the Abuja airport to receive the $600,000 first installment of what was said to be a $3 million bribe, an apparently angry Lawan said he had to leave the country when pressures were coming from high quarters to doctor the report to suit certain interest.

Lawan, in a statement bearing his signature and issued to newsmen, said: “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 sun of $600,000 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 thorough and indepth manner the investigation was carried out and the all-encompassing recommendations produced therefrom as approved by the whole House.

“The general public is hereby reminded that during and after the investigations, we have severally raised alarm on pressures on us from different quarters. In particular, I wish to refer to the front page publication in the Leadership Weekend newspaper of 28th, April, 2012 captioned “Marketers offered subsidy committee plane-load of dollars” where we alerted the public that a marketer promised to fly in a jet loaded with US dollars which he “intended to share to both the House leadership and members of the Adhoc Committee” to influence the outcome of the report.

“The clarification is necessary in order to clear all the insinuations being bandied about and more importantly to enable Government concentrate on the implementation of the report.

“The present mudslinging is not unexpected in view of the caliber of people whose actions or inactions were found wanting in the report. I am aware that in their desperation to discredit the report and divert the attention of the public from the real issues of large scale fraud in high places established in our report, a video footage displaying a caricature of my person allegedly having a dealing with a marketer reminiscent of military ear when dignitaries were invited to the Villa to watch video clip of phantom coup involving Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is already in circulation.

“I wish to assure all Nigerians that the sanctity of our reports remains unassailable and it will be in the best interest of the country if the relevant authorities faithfully and consciously implement the resolutions of the House. No amount of red-herring and cheap blackmail will affect our resolve to act in the best interest of the country with all the available information at our disposal. No doubt, the last has not been heard”.http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/news-update/49763-alleged-600-00-subsidy-bribe-i-never-collected-money-from-anybody-farouk-lawan.html

 

UPDATE:

[Vanguard] Embittered members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, distanced themselves from Lawan Farouk, chairman of the House committee that probed fuel subisdy, over alleged $3 million bribe scam and are asking him to bear his cross alone.

Lawan Farouk, however, has vehemently denied the allegation.

The latest allegation notwithstanding, the House members, it was learnt yesterday, were determined to keep the issues emanating from the investigations in focus and are set to trigger what sources described as option B aimed at prosecuting beneficiaries of the illegal subsidy claims.

Meanwhile, Rep. Farouk Lawan, who is at the centre of the allegations, yesterday, denied collecting the bribe, saying that the accusation was long expected. At a press briefing yesterday night, Lawan, a four term member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of Integrity Group which forced out former Speaker Patricia Etteh from office in 2007, said that it was because of the pressures on him that he ran away from his residence for five days while preparing the report of the subsidy committee. Lawan is the chairman of the ad-hoc committee.

It has also emerged that Lawan had wanted to present the money on the floor of the House last Wednesday but was dissuaded by angry members who warned that it would defile the template of uprightness that the new leadership of the House has sought to portray.

The House member at the centre of the allegation had allegedly collected $600,000 as part payment of the $3 million bribe from an interested party in the investigations.

Members who spoke to Vanguard, yesterday, expressed their disappointment on the action of the House official describing his recent explanations as “actions after the act.”

Especially scandalized it was learnt was Speaker Aminu Tambuwal who it was learnt has now faced the embarrassment of having the clean image he has otherwise cultivated tainted by the evolving development.

“The speaker is very disappointed but it is not as if he was totally surprised by the development and you know that is why some of his officials have continuously kept this man (suspect) at bay,” a close associate of the speaker told Vanguard yesterday.

Noting that it was the action of one man which cannot taint the image of the House, a key player in the House told Vanguard that the issue was for the indicted official to settle with the anti-corruption agencies.

“As for us this is an issue between him and the anti-corruption agencies, it is not for the House as there is no way that it can be proved that the House is connected to this mess,” the member told Vanguard.

Irrespective of the bribery allegation, Vanguard learnt of the determination of the House to press on with its charge against illegal beneficiaries of the subsidy scam with the instigation of a private prosecution of the alleged scammers.

“We are waiting for the executive to initiate action on the report but you know with their contradicting actions, it is now clear that nothing can come out from them, so we will activate our option B,” one member said.

Option B it was learnt would involve the House raising a team to instigate the private prosecution of those indicted by the report of the committee, the member said on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Also giving the determination of the House to wash its hands clean off the bribery allegation, another key player in the House told Vanguard yesterday that members were generally agreed that Lawan should be treated the same way as Rep. Herman Hembe, the embattled chairman of the House Committee on Capital Markets. Hembe is now facing prosecution in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC following allegations that he collected money to travel for a training workshop abroad but did not go.

“Just as Hembe we will leave Farouk to sort out his problems as it is not a problem for the House.”

It was further gathered that just before the House proceeded on break last week that Lawan had sought to table the alleged bribe on the table of the House as bribe offered him by interested stakeholders in the downstream sector but was rebuffed by House officials.

“Yes it is true but that was after the act. Why did he wait for weeks before telling anyone about the money,” one source in the House said yesterday as it was revealed that the effort to table the money became an option following suspicion that the deal had leaked.

“Even if one of us is guilty let the person bear his cross, let it not rub off on the house because if this is allowed to happen, it would bear damaging consequences for other investigations the House is now focusing on,” the House official said.

Meanwhile, the House leadership it was learnt is leaning towards the constitution of a special investigative committee to unravel the mystery sorrounding the alleged scam.

The inclination of the House leadership, it was learnt was upon pressures from members of the Lawan led ad-hoc committee who were embittered that they had been smeared with the bribe allegation and wanted an open investigation to clear their names.

A principal officer in the House who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that following the series of agitations by members of the Committee, the House leadership would meet this week to take a position on how best to address the matter.

According to him: “The truth  is that most members of the committee now feel very bad. How would you react to a situation where only one member of the committee was alleged to be involved in bribery and corruption case and the whole members of the House are being dragged into it? Our colleagues are demanding that the matter be brought into the open and treated with the urgency it deserves. This is what we are going to consider and I can assure you that as usual the House will on its own conduct an independent investigation into the matter to determine the truth. I can also tell you that we will not hesitate to take appropriate action in line with our rules against whoever is found to be guilty in the investigation.”

Another member who also spoke off record called on the leadership to act fast to save the image of the House pointing out that the situation should be handled in such a way that would not create the impression that some members are bigger than others.

“What some of us are saying is that the House has only one rule and that rule must apply to all members equally and fairly too irrespective of whoever is involved” He said.

House spokesman, Zakari Mohammed while dissociating the House from the alleged bribe had at the weekend pledged the determination of the House not to cover up the corrupt deeds of anyone.

“While we await investigation into these weighty accusations, we wish to state without equivocation that this Honourable House will never take side with corruption and we will always stand on the side of the rule of law.

“The reason we inaugurated the ad hoc committee to look into the controversial subsidy regime in the first place was to expose corruption in the sector, as such, we cannot, for whatever reason, support any underhand dealing from any quarter”.

About TransformationWatch

TransformationWatch is an online news site founded by Henry Omoregie It is focused on keeping tabs on the Transformation Agenda set out by the Nigerian leadership in the Local, State and Federal Governments. My mission is to observe, analyze and report milestones or slowdowns in promised service delivery in all the facets of governance in Nigeria (2011 and beyond). Readership is open to all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria alike, regardless of Tribe, Religion or Political divide. We are all in this together

Discussion

One thought on “Fresh scandal brews over Farouk Lawan’s $600,000 bribery scandal

  1. This is an atempt to discredit faruk lawan’s good work. How comes that a bribe is given after the submission of the report that we all praised, or is that he didnt implecate all and sundry? How comes a giver of bribe would have evidence that also implecates him. If otedola was not implicated, how can he now expose himself.
    This is just a set-up and it shows that the report is a master piece and must be implemented.

    Posted by Tony nwanze Utulu | June 10, 2012, 4:59 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,370 other followers

%d bloggers like this: