Business tycoon, Femi Otedola may have acted alone in the purported video tapping of the $620,000 bribe offered the suspended Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc committee that investigated the federal government’s fuel subsidy regime, Farouk Lawan.
To this end, LEADERSHIP checks revealed that the Gambo Musa Dan-Musa led Lower House Ethics and Privileges committee has resolved to get Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) to confirm or otherwise whether it was involved in the purported “sting” operation as bandied by Otedola.
The developments are fallouts of Thursday’s close door questioning of embattled Lawan by the Ethics and Privileges committee over the bribery tale that would have amounted to $3million until details of the deal leaked to the public.
Lawan allegedly received the payment from Otedola to clear the latter’s oil firm, Zenon, earlier indicted for fuel fraud investigated by the Lower House. Lawan insisted that he took the money as evidence.
A member of the Lower House investigative panel who spoke to LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity said Lawan who was quizzed for over four hours provided the panel with phone call logs and messages which suggest that Otedola was the one who was “desperate” and the “initiator” of the bribery deal.
He said Lawan informed the in-house panel that it was Otedola who provided the subsidy probe committee with the controversial 2010 KPMG audit report on Nigeria’s oil sector when the fuel subsidy probe was ongoing. The current administration has continually snubbed that audit report.
The audit report which was commissioned by the country’s Ministry Of Finance uncovered widespread rot and corruption in the country’s oil sector, and particularly, the now tainted subsidy management. The 43-page document catalogues a horrendous scope of rot and brazen fraud in the sector, indicting several government agencies, including the NNPC.
“If truly it was a sting operation as reported, why did security operatives not apprehend Farouk Lawan at the point of collection? Could it be that the whole plot was stage managed unilaterally by Mr. Femi Otedola with the intent of blackmailing the committee and rubbishing the widely indicting fuel subsidy report? These are posers the committee will unravel as investigation continues,” the members of the investigative committee stated.
Going by monitored reports, the video recording has been shown to only a few highly-placed Nigerians. They include President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice president Namadi Sambo, President of the Senate, David Mark, and the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal.
It was also reportedly played to Nobel Laureate and social campaigner, Wole Soyinka, the only non-government figure to view the footage.
Otedola, is expected to appear tomorrow before the Ethics and Privileges committee to explain his roles in the bribery tale.