Farouk Lawan Refutes $600,000 Bribe Allegation
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan has denied receiving an alleged bribe of $600,000 from any oil marketer, adding that neither did any member of his committee.
A video recording is alleged to be making rounds on the internet, revealing how the lawmaker was given a sum of $600,000 by an oil marketer. The money is alleged to bribe the lawmaker so that the oil baron and his companies will be exonerated from complicity in the oil subsidy scam.
Mr Lawan in a statement on Sunday night, refuted the allegation stating that “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 and in-depth manner the investigation was carried out and the all-encompassing recommendations produced therefrom as approved by the whole House.”
The lawmaker presided over the ad-hoc committee’s investigation of the mismanagement of the fuel subsidy which lasted over 10 weeks. The committee’s report indicted a number people in the oil subsidy scam which is estimated at almost N2trillion.
Mr Lawan enjoined Nigerians to recall that during and after the investigations, he and his committee members raised several alarms on pressures from different quarters to influence the report.
According to Mr Farouk, the said video footage is showing a caricature of him and such “mudslinging is not unexpected in view of the caliber of people whose actions and inactions were found wanting in the report.”
“In particular, I wish to refer to the front page publication in the Leadership Weekend newspaper of 28thApril 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 Adhoc Committee to influence the outcome of the report” the statement read.
Claiming that the allegations are raised in a bid to distract the government from implementing the report, the embattled lawmaker stated that, the clarification he is making, 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.”
“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.”
He assured all Nigerians that the sanctity of the report remains unassailable and he called for it for the full implementation of the report, saying “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 redherring 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” he concluded.