Bribery: Police to declare Farouk Lawan wanted

Bribery: Police to declare Farouk Lawan wanted

THE Chairman of the House of Representatives probe panel on fuel subsidy management, Farouk Lawal, on Wednesday failed to show up at the police headquarters for interrogation.

An highly placed source in the police told our correspondent that the Force had concluded arrangement to declare the lawmaker wanted.

Acording to the police, there is enough evidence to declare the lawmaker wanted over the allegation by billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, that Lawan took $620,000 bribe from him.

The Special Task Force investigating the bribery allegation waited in vain for the dimunitive lawmaker at the Force headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday.

A member of the investigating team, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said the police had enough evidence against Lawan, including the video, which he said contained what transpired between him and Otedola.

The source said the STF would invite other oil marketers who allegedly gave bribes to Lawan, for interrogation.

“The police expect him (Lawan) to honour the invitation, but, anytime from now, we will declare him wanted, if he does not show up. We have enough evidence to proscute the case, but we believe we can handle the matter in a civilised manner and that is why we invited him to come and help us with information on the case,” the member of the investigating team said.

The source said that Lawan had since June 4, 2012, been invited by the police to assist them in the investigation into the bribery scam.

Otedola, who was also summoned by the police, appeared before the STF on Tuesday, where he was said to have written a detailed statement on his encounter with the lawmaker and how he gave the bribe to him.

Another source explained that investigators had watched the video of the encounter between Farouk and Otedola, adding that the STF was convinced that the lawmaker had “a big case” to answer.

“The audio and video evidence before us strongly showed that Lawan has a case to answer because he was graphically seen accepting the money. We also saw Boniface Emenalo in the video wearing ‘resource control’ attire and pocketing dollar bills,” another source confirmed.

Lawan had on Monday said the video was doctored and that what was seen was his ‘caricature.’

Sources within the police confided in our correspondent that the investigating team strongly believed that Lawan had fleeced other oil marketers in the course of executing his committee’s mandate.

Our correspondent gathered that the police were sure that Farouk had fleeced other oil marketers in the course of carrying out his committee assignment.

“Some marketers, who allegedly bribed the committee will also be invited for interrogation,” a member of the STF said.

The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, was said to have shown serious interest in seeing that the case reached a logical conclusion. But according to a senior police officer, the IG wanted due process to be followed, hence the invitation to both Lawan and Otedola.

STF investigators were said to be angry that Lawan was trying to delay their work by not honouring the invitation and keeping the exhibit away, but the IG was said to have insisted that due process be followed, no matter the time it took.

Detectives handling the case said the lawmaker had no reason to take the exhibit to the House chamber. They wonder whether the House of Representatives had become a police station where exhibits are kept.

Head of the STF, Ali Amodu, had, in a letter dated June 4, 2012, written to the Speaker of the House, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, stated that the IGP had ordered a detailed criminal investigation into the bribery allegation.

He had also sought the assistance of the Speaker for Lawan to appear before the investigating team.

Before the June 4 letter, Amodu had written Lawan on May 16, requesting the money exhibit, names of witnesses and other material evidence from him.

Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, could not be reached on Wednesday for comments. His mobile phone was switched off.


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