by Isi Esene
The marked $620,000 which Hon. Farouk Lawan allegedly received as bribe from billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, seem to have grown wings. The police investigating the bribe scandal say they are unable to find the money.
The money was allegedly offered to Farouk to remove Otedola’s company from the list of companies named as illegal beneficiaries of the fuel subsidy regime.
The transaction purportedly happened when the embattled House of Representative member was the chairman of the Adhoc committee set up to investigate the disbursement of fuel subsidy funds which observers believe is fraught with irregularities.
The clerk of the Adhoc committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, is also under investigation.
According to the Nation Newspapers, there are indications to suggest that the Special Task Force (STF) established to look into the bribery allegation have submitted its report to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke, and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, without the bribe money as evidence.
With the trial tentatively set to begin this week barring any delays, it is apparent that the prosecution is determined to go through the case without it.
A source said, “The STF team tried to locate the bribe sum, which is vital to the trial of the suspects, but it could not because of vested interests in the matter.
“The prosecution may have to rely on some clips and statements made on oath by some of those interrogated. The STF did a good job and the investigation was far-reaching although without the bribe cash.
Another source affiliated with the defense team however expressed doubt that the prosecution has a water-tight case against Farouk without the bribe money.
He said, “We are ready for the trial, let them go and file charges.”
“As long as a sting operation could not be established by the police, the whole case will become flat,” he predicted.
Observers wonder why nothing has been said by the prosecution about the confessed bribe-giver, Femi Otedola, if according to the law, the giver and taker are presumed culpable.
The suspended House member, Farouk Lawan, is currently out of the country for the lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia and his trial is expected to start as soon as he returns.
Hope the police checked under the rug.