Mike Ozekhome, lawyer for the suspended Farouk Lawan has once again come out to rubbish the credibility of a second audio recording of a purported phone conversation between his client and oil magnate Femi Otedola as regards the $3 million bribery scandal.
Mr. Ozekhome, SAN, said in an interview with Channels Television that the audio clip, obtained and aired exclusively by the news station today, was like a “Shakespearean play” and said, “I will describe the entire unfolding drama as ‘Baba Sala’s Alawada’s Keri Keri histrionics and comedy. This is nothing short of comedy,” the lawyer said.
He said the airing of the audio recording of the alleged phone conversation between Lawan and Zenon Oil boss, Otedola, made light of a “serious national issue that involves mega money, that involves integrity, that involves moral and ethos”.
Ozekhome, much like he did yesterday after the airing of the first audio recording obtained by the station, claimed that the recording was doctored and makes a joke of the nation-wide protests that broke out over the “subsidy brouhaha”.
“We are talking of a serious matter that has to do with democracy of the stomach, of the common man,” he said, adding that the movement was reduced to a Shakespearean play, “a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
The lawyer argued that there is much more to hide in the matter that is out.
‘That is not my voice’
Ozekhome said he and his client, the embattled Farouk Lawan, had listened to the recordings together and the lawmaker says “that is not my voice”. His counsel told reporters that even friends and associates of Lawan, having listened to the audio recordings, agree that he sounds nothing like the voice on the recordings purported to be his.
Despite the similarities in diction and pitch that has many believing the recordings are the real deal, Ozekhome points to some differences between both audio clips that prove his client was impersonated.
Analysing both voices, he said the voice heard yesterday, said to be Lawan’s, was a more tentative soft-spoken Lawan, while the voice on the second recording was more belligerent, not even allowing Otedola get a word in edge wise.
He said both voice could not be from the same phone conversation as reported by Channels Television and dismisses its validity.
However, there are differences in both conversations that show they might have been made at different times. While the conversation exposed by Channels Television on Monday had to do with transferring $2.5 million to Lawan, the remainder of the $3 million bribes Otedola says was demanded of him, the audio clip aired on Tuesday was regarding plans to take Otedola’s firm off the list of fraudulent oil marketers as published in the probe report.
Both conversations, it is suspected, happened at different times. However, Lawan’s legal team remain firm on their challenge that the police and SSS release full audio visual records of the transaction. Until then, they insist, their client is innocent of the bribery allegations.