July 3rd, 2012
NewsRescue– In a most embarrassing scandal that has rocked and revealed the gravity, tenacity, and lasciviousness of Nigeria’s corruption workings at government and big business levels, and also exposed the seriousness of Nigeria’s ‘oil baron’, fuel subsidy thievery criminals.
Nigeria’s second most wealthy business tycoon, MD/CEO of Zenon oil and gas, Femi Otedola was recorded in conversation with the chairman of the ad hoc committee on the subsidy probe, Honorable Farouk Lawan, arranging to hand over the whopping sum of $3 Million dollars, as bribe to suppress findings of the Otedola conglomerate in the recently set up fuel subsidy inquiry and remove two of his companies from the list.
In January this year, the Nigerian government suddenly, on the order of the IMF, removed all fuel subsidies. This caused nationwide strikes and a resulting exposure to the Nigerian masses of the gravity of their wealth that was being stolen by a so-called ‘cabal’, as the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan had put it, in oil subsidy related, billion dollar crookery deals.
The administration, to quell anger, promised to open an investigation into the thieving cabal, who robbed Nigerians of more money than was to be levied in removing the subsidies.
The $2.5 Million bribe phone conversation, produced by Channels TV, exposes an unusual twist in events, with exposure of this high level criminal engagement at all levels of Nigeria’s so-called elite operations.
$500,000 was transferred first and the conversation was for the balance of $2.5 Million.
The conversation transcript:
Otedola: How are you sir? I don’t want to bring it to my house
Lawan: Oh, you would take it to your house
Otedola: No I don’t want to bring it to my house; it is a lot of money
Otedola: Yes they are in the airport in the aircraft
Lawan: Well I can’t come over now and before they can come over now unless I send somebody to but I can’t because…by the time they come I should be…I have a lot of things to do myself
Otedola: Is there anybody you think I can give it to or maybe I should just postpone my trip to China till tomorrow?
Lawan: No, no it’s ok…I’ll arrange it with someone…let me give you his number 080
Otedola: hold on hold on
Otedola: (Repeats number after him)What’s the name?
Lawan: aaarrh… TJ
Lawan: No, Tj
Otedola: OK. So I will give him the balance; that is erm… 2.5 million
Lawan: that’s right. Hold on. I’m calling him to be sure his phone is on..
More from the Vanguard–
Lawan Farouk reacts
Meanwhile, Mr Farouk Lawan has reacted to the audio conversation which was broadcast on Channels Television saying Mr Otedola manipulated the audio and challenged the business mogul to produce the complete audio video unedited and undoctored.
In a statement issued on behalf of the lawmaker by his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, he said,
“we have listened to and watched the audio with our client, Mr Farouk Lawan. On his instructions, we hereby state that the audio is infertile, vague, puerile and inadmissible in evidence by any Court Of Law or Tribunal.
“Professionally, Channels did make the vital point that the audio was “purported to be their voices”. One simple question here: where is the visual of the audio? Recall that Mr Otedola had told the whole world that he used SSS to carry out a so called “Sting Operation”, which showed Farouk Lawan not only pocketing the sum of N500,000 US Dollars, but also putting some under his cap, in Mr Otedola’s Lagos home. On Farouk’s instructions, we had debunked this allegation and challenged Mr Otedola, or the Police and SSS to produce this complete audio video, unedited and undoctored.
“Mr Otedola had the opportunity of doing this through Channels TV. But he did not. Rather, he brought highly doctored, manipulated and incomprehensible voices purported to be his and Lawan’s. He will certainly require forensic evidence to prove this to be true in this highly technologised world of manipulative evidence that can easily turn a man into a woman. Certainly, the audio was a sorry anti-climax to what Nigerians had been expecting.
“Even at that, let us take the audio “evidence” itself for whatever, it is worth. The conversation started somewhere in the middle, not from the beginning and ended abruptly. Our client hereby still challenges Mr Otedola to air the entire audio visual and also the complete video for Nigerians to see the setting and environment in which the alleged bribe took place, who said what, to whom and for what.
“Secondly, our client believes that the entire footage is devilish, satanic, luciferous, mischievous and completely taken out of context. Even then the audio shows that it is Mr Otedola offering to pay the balance of the alleged bribe of N2.5 million US Dollars, not Mr Farouk Lawan.
“Even from what was said, there was no mention of the purpose of the alleged balance of N2.5 million US Dollars, or any mention of Mr Otedola’s indicted companies, Zenon Oil and AP Petroleum, Whose desired removal from the Committee’s indicted companies list allegedly formed the fulcrum of the bribe itself. If it was actually a “sting operation”, why is it Mr Otedola and not the SSS officially releasing it on Channels TV? The audio has raised more questions and doubts than answers. Mr Farouk Lawan says it is a doctored anti-climax”.