Fuel Subsidy Probe: DSS Video Shows Farouk Lawan Receiving Bribe from Otedola

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The Department of State Services (DSS) on Tuesday presented a video evidence at the Federal Capital Territory  (FCT) High Court, Lugbe, where businessman, Femi Otedola, was seen giving out a parcel to former member of the House of Representatives, Farouq Lawan.

Lawan was the Chairman of the ad hoc committee set up by the House in 2012 to investigate massive petrol subsidy fraud.
The committee found some oil companies culpable of defrauding the federal government via spurious subsidy claims. Zenon Petroleum and Gas Company, belonging to Otedola, was also found culpable.

Despite the wide approval of the committee’s work, claims that Lawan who appeared strict during public hearings, had received gratifications to clear some companies, soon emerged.
His encounter with Otedola allegedly involving the exchange of over $600,000 was a “sting operation” to collect evidence, the DSS later said.

Lawan’s trial is in its fifth year.
Yesterday, Justice Angela Otaruku granted the request of the prosecuting counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, to play the video as evidence of Lawan collecting bribe from Otedola.

The video, revealing an exchange of parcel, lasted for almost three minutes.
“The video I just played are those of Otedola and Lawan where there was an exchange of parcel at Otedola’s house in Aso drive, Abuja,” said Awomolo.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the defendant’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome, while cross-examining the DSS prosecutor, David Ojataha, said the device used in playing the CD had no imprint of time and event in the video.
Ozekhome said there was nothing to show that the defendant was there to receive bribe.

He added that there was also nothing in the video to suggest that bribery was discussed because such words like “bribe” was not heard in the video.

The trial judge, Justice Otaruku, while discharging the DSS prosecutor from the witness box, ordered the prosecution counsel to bring his other witnesses to court on May 10, being the adjourned date of the trial.