$3m bribery scandal: Lawmakers weigh sanctions for Farouk

Emmanuel Aziken, Okey Ndiribe
& Emman Ovuakporie

12 June 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS — THE leadership of the Nigerian House of Representatives was Monday night considering two options in the wake of the bribery scandal that has engulfed its investigation into the utilisation of petroleum products subsidy funds.

The House options, it was learnt, were upon pressures from members of the House who were peeved over what they saw as a stain on the image the Aminu Tambuwal administration in the House had sought to uphold.

At the centre of the emerging scandal is the chairman of the House ad-hoc committee on the Utilisation of fuel subsidies, Lawan Farouk. He was, Monday, formally accused by diesel merchant, Mr. Femi Otedola of demanding $3 million bribe to supposedly clear him (Otedola) and his companies from culpability in the committee’s report.

In an interview published by a national newspaper on Monday, Otedola stated that Lawan and an official of the committee collected the sum of $620,000 in part payment of the alleged bribe in marked money supposedly provided by security agencies. Lawan, had prior to this disclosure denied culpability, alleging the determination of those indicted by his committee’s report to fight back dirty.

Lawan could not be reached, Monday for further reactions following the formal accusations by Otedola.

Though the House is currently on break, an unusual tension was evident in the offices of the House of Representatives on Monday, with angry members expressing regret over the latest development. The secretary of the committee cited by Mr. Otedola who allegedly collected part of the bribe money alongside Lawan, Boniface Emenalo was out of his office throughout Monday. His secretary repeatedly stated that Emenalo was not in the office during repeated visits by newsmen to the office.

The options before the House
Sweetcrude learnt last night that upon the pressures from House members, the House leadership was now leaning towards two options. The first is to dump Lawan from his position as chairman of the ad-hoc committee. Under the option which is seriously favoured by a majority of those in the hierarchy of the House, Lawan would also be stopped from presiding during the appearance of the 17 companies who were re-invited by the Lawan committee following their complaints that they were indicted by Lawan’s committee without hearing from them.

Under the second option Lawan would be left to continue in his duties while the House would give full liberty to security agencies to investigate the matter. That option which was initially favoured when the scandal broke is increasingly being discountenanced upon pressures from House members.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the House on resumption next Tuesday would take a resolution on the issue based on the option it finally adopts.

Irrespective of the resolution, the hierarchy of the House is determined to push the executive arm of government to implement the recommendations of the report earlier submitted by the Lawan committee.

House members were further angered by what they claimed as the initial arrogance of the alleged chief culprit once he was called upon by Speaker Tambuwal to defend himself when the scandal first broke.

Lawan walks out on Speaker Tambuwal
When he was confronted with the allegation last week on the circumstances under which he allegedly collected the money, he angrily denied and walked out on the speaker and the principal officers present.

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  • Khodry

    Respected house of asemble we shd kick against dis as it is a distraction of d highest order d culprit is only trying 2 divert u pples attention from passing d committee recomendations into law……..we d tru nigerian belief in farouk lawal n his committee dey shd carry on.

  • Adeboye Joseph

    We expected al dis 2 hapen, considering dos involved in d scandal. Dey hv perfected dia plans & nw reading d scripts. Let d so cal Odetola tel d world y he had 2bribe if he actualy hd don notin incriminating or tryin 2 protect his oil empire @d detriment of d general public. I also wnt2 warn d security agences 2d wary of who dey romance @dis material time coz dey might jst b swiming wit sharks. God blez 9ja.

    • Nigerians should ever be grtuefall to president goodluck jonathan. For allowing us to know the degree of rot in our system, these.wickedness have been going on for a very long time and we all seat tight as though nothing is wrong, now is the time for us to take our destiny in our hands, we have enough information and our enemies are well known to us now so let’s come together with a common agenda of salvaging our dear country and fight these battle,Nigeria belongs to all of us president Goodluck jonathan resignation is not what we need , let’s sincerely stand up against corrupt practices and make Nigeria the best place in the world, we can make it.

  • Olorunsola Akinyemi

    Lets wait and see if this scandal and evidences is enough to send Lawan farouk, a Nigerian lawmaker to jail.The truth of the matter is, as long as the powerful keeps committing criminal act and no punishment as a result,Nigeria is headed towards the abyss.God save 9ja.

  • Lawal Faruk, you did a nice job & i hope the selfish laeedrs we have will swip your effort under the carpet. History will bear you witness that your member have done their path. Well done, more grace to your effort. Amin.