The police on Tuesday told a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Lugbe, Abuja, that there was no truth in the claim by the then Chairman, House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Mr. Farouk Lawan, that he collected $500,000 bribe from billionaire businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, as part of a sting operation in 2012.
The Commissioner of Police, Legal Services, David Igbodo, who said this in evidence while testifying as the second prosecution witness in Lawan’s ongoing trial on bribery charges before the court, said it was rather the Otedola’s version of the claim of sting operation that was genuine.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission is prosecuting Lawan for allegedly “corruptly” collecting $500,000 out of the $3m bribe he requested from Otedola.
Lawan was accused of accepting the bribe in exchange for the removal of Otedola’s company’s name, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd. from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.
Igbodo, who is also an Investigating Police Officer in the Special Investigation Unit of the Office of the Inspector-General of Police, said investigation showed that Lawan was through the genuine sting operation caught on video while accepting the $500,000 bribe at Otedola’s home on April 24, 2012.
The witness, who was led in evidence by the lead prosecuting counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), said the ex-lawmaker allegedly concocted the claim that he accepted the money from Otedola to prove the business man’s attempt to induce him and other members of the House Committee as an afterthought.
Igbodo testified that the accused only came about the narration of a sting operation after the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal (now Governor of Sokoto State), confronted him (Lawan) with a clip of Otedola’s sting operation.
He said, “Your lordship, we made attempt and did investigate those claims, and we found them to be a fallacy and indeed an afterthought.
“He was asked to produce his telephone number to prove those chains of calls to enable the police to investigate and probably contact the network provider, he was evasive.
“We also tried to get evidence to prove his claim, that $250,000 was given to him at Protea Hotel, by Femi Otedola, there was no evidence to prove that
“Other than that incontrovertible evidence of him collecting $500,000 from Femi Otedola on April 24, 2012. That was the evidence we have.”
He also said Lawan reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that there were attempts by some oil marketers to induce him.
Igbodo said Lawan only reported to the then EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, after he collected the $500,000 from Otedola, but never mentioned it in his report to the anti-graft agency.
Justice Angela Otaluka adjourned the trial till Wednesday.