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Lagos, NG
1st June 2020

Subsidy fraud: Farouk Lawan demanded $3m bribe- Otedola

The $500,000 bribe offered to Farouk Lawan was from DSS– Otedola
The $500,000 bribe offered to Farouk Lawan was from DSS– Otedola

The State Security Service, SSS, on Tuesday presented a video evidence at the FCT High Court, Lugbe, where a businessman, Femi Otedola, was seen giving out a parcel, suspected to contain the sum of $600,000 to former member of the House of Representatives, Farouq Lawan, who was alleged to have asked for $3million bribe in the Fuel subsidy scam hearing.

Mr. Lawan was the chairman of an ad hoc committee set up by the House in 2012 to investigate massive petrol subsidy fraud.

The committee found some oil companies culpable of defrauding the Federal Government via spurious subsidy claims. Zenon Petroleum and Gas Company, belonging to Mr. Otedola, was also found culpable.

Despite the wide approval of the committee’s work, claims that Mr. Lawan who appeared strict during public hearings had received gratifications to clear some companies, soon emerged.

His encounter with Mr. Otedola allegedly involving the exchange of over $600,000 was a “sting operation” to collect evidence, the SSS later said.

Mr. Lawan’s trial is in its fifth year.

On Tuesday, Justice Angela Otaruku granted the request of the prosecuting counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, to play the video as evidence of Mr. Lawan collecting bribe from Mr. Otedola.

The video, revealing an exchange of parcel, lasted for almost three minutes.

“The video I just played are those of Mr. Femi Otedola and Hon. Farouq Lawan where there was an exchange of parcel at Otedola’s house in Aso Drive, Abuja,” said Mr. Awomolo.

Mike Ozekhome, the defendant’s counsel, while cross-examining the SSS prosecutor, David Ojataha, said the device used in playing the CD had no imprint of time and event in the video.

Mr. Ozekhome said there was nothing to show that the defendant was there to receive the bribe.

He added that there was also nothing in the video to suggest that bribery was discussed because such words like “bribe” were not heard in the video.

The trial judge, Ms. Otaruku, while discharging the SSS prosecutor from the witness box, ordered the prosecution counsel to bring his other witnesses to court on May 10, being the adjourned date of the trial. (NAN)

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