by Stanley Azuakola
Whether it is done in the open, or behind closed doors, the police say the investigation of the Farouk Lawan bribery saga by the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges is illegal. The argument being, the House has no business investigating a criminal matter. If they do, then what will police officers do?
The Punch newspaper spoke with a top police officer who said that the move by the House, would do nothing apart from muddling up the investigation being carried out by the Police Special Task Force. Besides, a member of that House committee carrying out the investigation, Mr. Jagaba, is a suspect in the case as well. This creates the awkward situation of a suspect, Mr Jagaba, interrogating a fellow suspect, Mr. Lawan.
The House Ethics committee headed by Gambo Musa had interrogated Lawan last week behind closed doors, a hearing in which Lawan reportedly told its members that he only collected “money” and not “bribe.”
Even as the committee is marching ahead with its investigations by inviting Femi Otedola to appear before it on Tuesday, the police officer strongly advised it to adhere to the House’s earlier decision during its emergency plenary. In that session, the House resolved to detach itself from the investigation and wait for the outcome of police investigations.
He said, “The House is going beyond its brief by asking its committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate the bribery scandal which the police are already working on.
“They have no legal right to investigate a criminal case that police investigators are probing. Besides, some members of the committee (on ethics and privileges) are suspects in the bribery scandal because Lawan in his statement claimed he gave the bribe to Adams Jagaba.
“We don’t want to take issues with the House, but at the appropriate time, we will move against all of them; we are just bidding our time and following the rule of law,” the officer stated.
Meanwhile, the police are still clueless on the whereabouts of the bribe money, almost a month after the crisis first blew into the open.