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Published On: Tue, Jan 29th, 2019

Alleged bribe: $500,000 I gave to Lawan from DSS, says Otedola

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By Vivian Okejeme Abuja

Chief Femi Otedola, a prosecution witness, yesterday, told Justice Angela Otaluka of the Federal Capital Territory high Court, Apo, that the $500,000, he offered Farouk Lawan, was from the coffers of the Department of State Service ( DSS).
He said he gave Lawan the $500,000 in two tranches of $250,000 each.
The former member House of Representatives, is facing trial over allegation of bribery against him by the federal government
Under cross examination by the defense counsel, Chief Mike Ozokhome, said the money was given to him by the DSS after he wrote a petition against Lawan that he demanded a $3m bribe from him to exonerate his oil company from the subsidy scam.
Responding to the defense, Otedola explained that the $500,000 formed part payment of the $3m Lawan demanded.
He added that the money was given under the supervision of the DSS.
Explaining further, the Chief Executive Officer of Zenon Oil, said he petitioned the DSS immediately Lawan demanded the bribe.
“Lawan said he was going to exonerate my company after giving him the money”, Otedola said.
Otedola said that security cameras were mounted in his living room to capture the exchange of money between him and the defendant.
When asked if he has the video of the meeting, Otedola said, ‘’it is in the possession of the DSS.’’
When reminded by Chief Ozekhome, that the best time “to catch a thief is when the operation is ongoing”, Otedola said he does not know why the DSS failed to arrest Lawal at that moment.
Meantime, the matter has been adjourned till March 8 for continuation of cross examination of prosecution witness.
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.
According to the prosecution agency, the transaction was in exchange for the removal of the Otedola’s company’s name from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.

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