Saturday, 16 June 2012

EFCC set to charge Farouk Lawan for corruption

The door is gradually shutting on the embattled chairman of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee which investigated the fuel subsidy, Mr.Farouk Lawan, as the Police in Abuja threatened Wednesday to arrest him for failure to heed invitation from investigator, even as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, received communications from the Attorney General’s office on the case and “will most likely charge him to court latest Friday,” multiple sources familiar with the case at the Attorney Generals office and at the legal department of the EFCC confirmed.
Police sources say Mr. Lawan’s failure to honour an invitation to him and without a clear reason for it suggests to them that he “knows the game is up” according to a senior investigator at Louis Edet House, headquarters of the Nigerian Police.
Mr. Lawan however told this newspaper Wednesday night that he had received no invitation from the police.
Oil sector billionaire, Mr. Femi Otedola, triggered what will now be Mr. Farouk Lawan’s albatross when he claimed to have offered the law maker $620,000 bribe to get two of his companies off the list of companies gouging Nigerian tax payers of billions in subsidy financing.
After a blockbuster reports presentation on 18th April, Mr. Otedola’s companies, Zenon and Synopsis, were indicted, but after allegedly paying Mr Lawan bribes between April 21 and 24th, [April 21st $250,000, April 23rd $250,000 and early morning of April 24th $100,000.] they were let off the hook. The two companies were delisted on the morning of April 24th during the House Plenary Discussion on Subsidy Report.
Mr. Lawan later said he had communications with the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes and the Inspector General of Police claiming Mr. Otedola was persisting in trying to offer him offer him bribes to influence the outcome of the investigation.
However, the EFFC entry into the case suggests a new twist and serious dimensions to Mr. Lawan’s problems. Our EFCC forces say the legal officers are “busy dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s on Mr. Lawan’s charges.”
Police investigators interrogated Mr. Otedola Tuesday on the allegation he offered a USD620,000 to Farouk Lawan. Mr. Otedola was at the police headquarters in Abuja, where a task force in the office of the Inspector General of Police quizzed and later released after about an hour.
Although Mr. Otedola admitted that he gave the money to Mr. Lawan to get his oil marketing firm, Zenon Ltd, cleared of indictment over fuel subsidy fraud that involved several firms and cost the nation more than N2 trillion, he nevertheless claimed he acted with law enforcement agents who planted visual and audio devices to trap Mr. Lawan after he had pestered him to pay bribe. The money was part of an agreed USD 3 million.


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