Alleged $600,000 Bribe:Farouk Lawan Denies It All



Farouk Lawan, chairman of the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee that produced  a landmark report on the fraud in Nigeria’s fuel subsidy payment regime has denied demanding or collecting any bribe from an oil marketer as widely alleged.The media has been awash with allegations that Lawan may have been  bribed by  a Lagos- based oil  magnate believed to be very close to President Goodluck Jonathan.

But  Lawan’s statement  on Sunday  said  his “attention has been drawn to several newspapers and internet stories alleging that a prominent member of the House ad-hoc committee on petroleum subsidy demanded and received the sum of $600,000 as bribe from an oil marketer. I wish to categorically deny that I or any member of the committee demanded and received any bribe from anybody in connection with the fuel subsidy probe and I believe this is evident from the thorough an in-depth manner the investigation was carried out and the all encompassing recommendations produced there from as approved by the whole House”.

He  reminded the public that his committee which probed the subsidy regime actually came under pressure . “The general public is hereby reminded that during and after the investigations, we have severally raised alarm on pressures on us from different quarters. In particular, I wish to refer to the front-page publication in the Leadership Weekend newspaper of 28th April 2012, captioned “Marketers Offered Subsidy Committee Plane load of Dollars,” where we alerted the public that a marketer promised to fly in a jet loaded with US Dollars which he “intended to share to both the House Leadership and members of the ad-hoc committee” to influence the outcome of the report.

Given the way the  alleged scandal broke, it is unlikely that Lawan’s statement will lay the issue to rest.But no one is sure yet how the next  phase will unfold .

Read the  text of  Lawan’s statement below:

My attention has been drawn to several newspapers and internet stories alleging that a prominent member of the House ad-hoc committee on petroleum subsidy demanded and

received the sum of $600,000 as bribe from an oil marketer. I wish to categorically deny that I or any member of the committee demanded and received any bribe from anybody in connection with the fuel subsidy probe and I believe this is evident from the thorough an in-depth manner the investigation was carried out and the all encompassing recommendations produced there from as approved by the whole House.

The general public is hereby reminded that during and after the investigations, we have severally raised alarm on pressures on us from different quarters. In particular, I wish to refer to the front-page publication in the Leadership Weekend newspaper of 28th April 2012, captioned “Marketers Offered Subsidy Committee Plane load of Dollars,” where we alerted the public that a marketer promised to fly in a jet loaded with US Dollars which he “intended to share to both the House Leadership and members of the ad-hoc committee” to influence the outcome of the report.

This clarification is necessary in order to clear all the insinuations being bandied about and, more importantly, to enable the Government concentrate on the implementation of the report.

The present mudslinging is not unexpected in view of the calibre of people whose actions and inactions were found wanting in the report. I am aware that in their desperation to discredit the report and divert the attention of the public from the real issues of large scale fraud in high places established in our report, a video footage displaying a caricature of my person allegedly having a dealing with a marketer reminiscent of the military era when dignitaries were invited to the Villa to watch a video clip of a phantom coup involving Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is already in circulation.

I wish to assure all Nigerians that the sanctity of our report remains unassailable and it will be in the best interest of the country if the relevant authorities faithfully and conscientiously implement the resolutions of the House. No amount of red-herring and cheap blackmail will affect our resolve to continue to act in the best interest of the country with all the available information at our disposal. No doubt, the last has not been heard.

 

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