The new House of Representatives panel currently conducting a fresh review of the oil marketers indicted in the April report by the Farouk Lawan-led committee has unearthed more bribery and corruption allegations.
According to the findings of the panel, led by Aigboje Aig-Imoukuede, more oil marketers have alleged they paid about $10 million in bribes to the eight-member House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy.
The Vanguard reported that police officials were shocked to learn that the Lawan-led committee collected $10 million in bribes and in exchange gave a “clean bill of health” to fraudulent oil marketers.
The Aig-Imoukuede-led panel has reportedly discovered many oil marketers, not indicted in the report, who defrauded the Petroleum Subsidy Fund to the tune of N422 billion. These oil marketers were, however, “invited and interrogated by the Lawan committee” before they were given a “clean bill of health”.
According to the Vanguard, 80 per cent of that money was collected abroad. Oil marketers allegedly saw to the travel and first class accommodation of key members of the probe panel. While abroad, the oil marketers reportedly gave them bribes that assured that they were not indicted in the report, the Vanguard reported.
The embattled Farouk Lawan’s $3 million bribery scandal barely scratches the surface of the corruption found within the panel.
Police have assured that they are investigating the fresh allegations, but will not reveal its process. They have so far met a dead end with their investigations into the $620,000 bribery allegations leveled against Lawan by chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas, Mr. Femi Otedola.
Lawan has so far failed to bring in the money, which lawmakers say is key evidence in closing the case. The Kano state lawmaker claims he took money from Otedola and not a “bribe”. He has long maintained his innocence, alleging that he only took Otedola’s dollars to expose the oil marketer.
The members of the committee, now under heavy scrutiny, are yet to honour police invitations to come in for questioning.
Meanwhile, the House has summoned Zenon Oil boss, Otedola to make an appearance on 3 July. The oil magnate is also sticking to his story, alleging that Lawan had sought to extort bribes from him and he had worked with security operatives on a sting operation to expose the lawmaker.
Otedola said he repeatedly told Lawan that his firm had no part of the PSF, but he was indicted anyway after he refused to “play ball”. He paid only a fraction of the $3 million Lawan had allegedly demanded from him.
Lawan also pushed a recommendation that the list of fraudulent oil marketers be amended and Zenon Oil taken off the list. He claims however that the committee came to that decision after conducting its investigations.