by Stanley Azuakola
The Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola story continues to unfold.
On Thursday, Farouk Lawan appeared before the House of Representatives Ethics Committee chaired by Hon. Gambo Musa, which was mandated by the House to investigate the $620,000 bribery allegation. However, in a blow to transparency, the committee decided to conduct its session behind closed doors.
The reason given for the unpopular move by the House spokesman, Zakari Mohammed, was that conducting the investigation in public might jeopardise the investigative efforts of the law enforcement agencies. Also, Mohammed said that if it was done in public, others who are involved in the case might use Lawan’s testimony to their advantage.
Meanwhile, some details of the testimony given by Lawan have begun to come out. They show that Hon Lawan admitted to taking “money,” but not “bribe” from businessman Femi Otedola. The Lawan grilling session lasted for about four hours, right from 1.07 pm when Lawan read a prepared speech. It was after the speech that journalists were asked to vacate the hearing room.
Lawan emphasised that he was careful to use money and not bribe in his statement because he only took the money with the aim of exposing Otedola. According to those present at the hearing, Lawan tendered text messages and call logs as proofs to the panel that he was not the initiator of the well reported transaction.
Consequently, the Gambo Musa committee has decided to invite Femi Otedola on a yet unspecified date to appear before it and give his own side of the story. They intend to confront him with the information ivulged by Lawan.
However, no headway was made on the whereabouts of the $620,000 alleged bribe money.