New developments have emerged in the investigation into the $620,000 bribery scandal currently shaking up the House of Representatives in Nigeria. According to recent reports from the Vanguard, police forces have allegedly recovered $10,000 of the marked bribery dollar bills, which leaves embattled suspended lawmaker, Farouk Lawan, with just $610,000 to account for.
The saga of the missing bribe has stalled Special Task Force investigations into the “cash for clearance” bribery allegations put forward by Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd. chairman, Femi Otedola.
Otedola is accusing Lawan, the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Fuel Subsidy, of demanding $3 million in bribes in order to clear his company of any fraudulent activities.
The Zenon boss, who insisted that his company had no part in the Petroleum Subsidy Scheme, alleged that he only paid the bribes as part of a sting operation to expose Lawan, while Lawan counter-claims that he took Otedola’s bribery offer to expose the oil magnate’s corruption.
Police are now investigating the “he said, he said” case, while the House has suspended the two lawmakers, Lawan and Boniface Emenalo, fingered in the bribery scandal. Their investigations into the matter, however, hinges on finding the marked dollar bills. Lawan had first said the money had been handed over to Narcotics committee chairman, Hon. Adams Jagaba.
Jagaba, however, denied it. Now the Vanguard is reporting that $10,000 of the bribery money was discovered in Lawan’s Apo residence, smearing more dirt on the once celebrated Kano lawmaker.
A somber Lawan in an interview turned spiritual, saying his trials have been ordained by God and he will soon be vindicated.
Speaking to newsmen after a plenary session at the House, which he surprisingly attended, a tired looking Lawan said he was fin with the House’s decision to suspend him
“Whatever decision is taken by the House, I believe is meant to ensure the credibility of the institution because as members, we must at all times recognize that the institution is bigger than each and everyone of us. It is an institution that belongs to this country, that Nigerians look up to for legislation, oversight responsibilities and for responsive representation.
“It is an institution that must continue to give hope and confidence to the Nigerian people. So, whenever any issue arises to question any particular member’s standing, it is important to recognize that the institution itself is bigger than anyone of us.”
The House’s suspension of Lawan does not mean vindication for Otedola, however. They insist the oil magnate is just as guilty and as such should still be investigated for oil fraud; Otedola had called that decision by the House “laughable”.