Investigator insists Lawan demanded $3 million bribe from Femi Otedola
A witness and Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in the trial of former Chairman of House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan, has again insisted in his testimony before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Lugbe that Lawan demanded $3 million as bribe from Femi Otedola, Chairman of Forte Oil Plc.
David Igbodo, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), while under cross-examination by Lawan’s counsel, Mr. Nkem Okoro, said investigations revealed that Zenon Oil was cleared but AP was not cleared because the balance was not paid.
He explained that the investigation was limited to the alleged collection of $500,000 bribe by Lawan and the $100,000 collected by Secretary of the committee, Boniface Emenalo, who had earlier testified against Lawan.
The Federal Government is prosecuting Lawan under the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) Act for allegedly “corruptly” collecting $500,000 out of the $3 million bribe 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 and AP Petroleum (now Forte Oil) from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.
Igbodo, at the resumed sitting, further confirmed to the court that Otedola told the investigators that Lawan was constantly calling him (Otedola) in regards to the money but the investigators were unable to retrieve the call logs because they (Lawan & Otedola) used different phone numbers for the transaction.
He insisted that “the investigation was thorough” notwithstanding the hitch.When the witness was asked if the said money was found with Lawan, he said: “We did not find the money with him, but he made an undertaking to produce it which he never did.”
Meanwhile, an application for an adjournment by the defence to allow the lead defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), conclude the cross-examination was refused by the trial judge.
Justice Angela Otaluka ruled that the court is not allowed to grant adjournment on frivolous excuses and that cross-examination, which began on June 28, 2016, could not be for an unreasonable and indefinite time.
“Since the defendant has refused to continue with the cross-examination today (yesterday), the application for adjournment is hereby refused, and the right to further cross-examine this witness is hereby foreclosed”, the judge ruled.She, therefore, granted the prosecution to call its third witness to appear before the court today.