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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

$3 million bribery: Otedola appears before police panel, submits video, audio evidence

Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola
Oil magnate and Chairman of Zenon Petroleum, Femi Otedola, on Tuesday stoked his charge against embattled Chairman of the House of Representative ad hoc Committee that investigated the management of fuel subsidy fund, Farouk Lawan, by handing over to the police, audio and video evidence of how the lawmaker got the first installment of the bribe and how he demanded the balance.
According to Channels TV online, besides submitting the video and audio evidence, he also told Police investigators in Abuja how Mr Lawan mounted pressure on him with a list of senior officials of the House who he claimed were to be settled with the bribe money.
Mr Otedola,  appeared before the Special Task Force constituted by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar at precisely 10.55 a.m on Tuesday.
He told the panel headed by Commissioner of Police Ali Amodu that Mr Lawan collected $500, 000 in cash and the Secretary of the committee, Boniface Emenalo collected $120, 000 in two installments of $20, 000 and $100, 000 respectively.
Mr Otedola told the police that the persistent demands by Mr Lawan for the balance of the bribe made on telephone were recorded in audio format. Both the audio and video recordings of the transactions were submitted to the police panel.
A source privy to the developments said that “Farouk put pressure and kept on calling for the balance and when the pressure became unbearable, Otedola said that the two agreed that the balance should be flown in a chartered plane toAbuja. However, on the day the money was to come, Farouk said he would be in plenary and gave Otedola a name and phone number of somebody who would  meet him for the money.”
Asked if the Police had recovered the money, a senior officer close to the investigation said “First of all, the money was at no time handed over to the Inspector General of Police. Secondly, we have asked Hon. Lawan and the House to hand over the money to us and so far they have refused.

“We are told that the money will be kept as exhibit and only presented in a court of law. The question arising now is when has the House of Representatives become a security agency. What about the fear of tampering with the money, how do we guard against it if the money remains with the House?”
Sources say Otedola’s appearance before the Police was on his own volition.

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