FUEL SUBSIDY PROBE: HOW FAROUK LAWAN AND ADAMS JAGABAN GOT EMBROILED IN A $600,000 BRIBERY SCANDAL
Just when we thought the ripples over the N2.7 trillion looted from the Nigerian treasury under the guise of paying marketers for the subsidised fuel they imported into the country is gradually fading out, since the Federal Government has not taken serious actions to implement the report, the issue has once again resurfaced in the front burner of our polity.
According to latest revelations, the trio of the Chairman of African Petroleum, AP, Mr Femi Otedola, Chairman of the fuel subsidy probe panel, Hon.Farouk Lawan and Chairman of the House committee on Drugs and Financial Crimes, Hon.Jagaban Adams Jagaban are currently embroiled in a $600,000 bribery scandal over the fuel subsidy probe.
Findings by ireports-ng.com revealed that soon after the conclusion of the televised public hearing by the Farouk Lawan-led House panel, a deal of $3million, where a deposit of $500,000 would be made and the remaining balanced settled on a later date was said to have been struck with Otedola with the promise of doctoring the report of the committee so that his companies, AP and Zenon Oil would not be indicted in their report.
Not suspecting that he was being recorded by Otedola with pen camera, Hon. Farouk was said to have gone to Otedola’s house in Abuja to collect the first payment of $500,000, and upon returning from Otedola’s house informed Hon Jagaban Adams Jagaban who is the House committee chairman on drug and financial and confided in him.
Otedola was also Said to have given another sum of $100,000 to one Boniface Emanalor who served as clerk of the probe panel who in turn informed Hon Lawan and was handed over his own share of the bribe.
Ireports said it gathered that while the entire deal was going on, no other member of the probe panel was taken into confidence by the trio of Lawan, Jagaban and Emenalor. As such, the report was submitted with the full indictment of Otedola for using his companies to collect foreign currencies from the CBN under the guise of fuel import but diverted same intact.
When information however leaked this week that Otedola, a very close confidant of President Goodluck Jonathan and ruling PDP’s major financier, had recorded his deal with Lawan on video and handed same over to the president, the Lawan’s ring came out of its shell for the first time last Wednesday to throw the slush money on the floor of the House. The PDP leadership was also said to have stepped in to avoid a situation where the scandal will affect the image of its government since all actors in the scandal are PDP members. It was viewed that it will be scandal too many for the PDP government, Ireport said.
“The move was rejected by the House leadership and for the first time, other members of the committee and other colleaques got wind of the development. Lawan and Jagaban’s defense now, it was learnt was that they were playing along with Otedola in the bribery scheme.”
This claim by Lawan and Jagaban did not seem to have gone down with members of the probe panel as they wondered why it took them so long to bring up the matter after several weeks of the panel rounding up its assignment.
Could it be that the presidency used Otedola to set up Hon Farouk Lawan especially considering that he refused to water down the reports that eventually indicted top government official? Or could it be that Hon Lawan actually collected the money to doctor the report in favour of Otedola which he eventually did not do? Why does he have to go to Otedola’s house even when all members of the probe panel agreed not to approach any of the oil marketers been investigated.
These are questions Farouk Lawan, Jagaban and Emenalor will have to answer as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has already commenced investigation into the matter. One only hopes it doesn’t signify an end to the implementation of the probe report.