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Police Detain Farouk Lawan Overnight

Police Detain Farouk Lawan Overnight. The acting inspector-general of police, IGP Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered the detention of Hon. Farouk Lawan over his alleged complicity in a $3million bribery allegation.

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قديم 06-15-2012, 05:10 PM
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افتراضي Police Detain Farouk Lawan Overnight

Police Detain Farouk Lawan Overnight.

The acting inspector-general of police, IGP Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered the detention of Hon. Farouk Lawan over his alleged complicity in a $3million bribery allegation.


Abubakar was said to have ordered the legislator's detention Overnight after Lawan failed to convince the Police interrogators.


Lawan was accused by the chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Mr. Femi Otedola, of demanding a $3million bribe and actually received $620,000.


According to Otedola, who honoured an invitation by the Police yesterday, told them how Lawan demanded the money and how he promptly reported the alleged demand to the State Security Service, SSS, which, in turn, marked some money and gave it to Otedola to give to Lawan.


The Police had, on June 7, invited the chairman of the ad-hoc committee on the fuel subsidy probe, Hon. Lawan, to give his own version of the story, but Lawan did not honour the invitation until yesterday.


The Police had issued him an ultimatum that if he did not show up at the Police Force Headquarters by yesterday he would either be arrested or declared wanted.


LEADERSHIP learnt that Lawan arrived at the Police headquarters at about 4pm in the company of five lawyers, including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He was said to have been later joined by the clerk of the ad-hoc committee, Mr Boniface Emenalo, who was accused of receiving about $120, 000 on behalf of his principal.


As at press time, Lawan was being detained at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) for interrogation. He was said to have denied collecting bribe money from Otedola. He was said to have claimed to have reported the bribe offer to the appropriate authorities.


LEADERSHIP further learnt that the Special Task Force, STF, headed by Commissioner of Police, Ali Amodu, not satisfied with the responses of the lawmaker, reported their findings to the IG who ordered that he (Farouk) be detained until today for further investigation.


Lawan, was said to have maintained his innocence, claiming that he never solicited for bribe from Otedola.
Deputy force Police public relations officer Mr Frank Mba, who spoke with LEADERSHIP in a telephone conversation, confirmed that Lawan finally honoured the invitation, saying that the interrogation with the lawmaker was still ongoing. He could not open up on the extent of the interrogation, saying that he could not divulge much since the investigation was still on.


"It is too early to comment on what transpired since he is still being interrogated. He would be released to go home or would be made to spend the night with the police," Mba said.


Asked whether the lawmaker produced the alleged bribe money which was reportedly marked by the SSS, as was demanded by the police, Mba said: "That's a very integral part of our investigation that we would not want to disclose. The honourable is with us and currently undergoing investigation by our team of interrogators. He is helping us with investigations".


His detention won't stop emergency session
When asked what would happen if Police refused to release Lawan to attend the House's emergency session today, a member of the House who sought anonymity said, "The House will go ahead and take necessary action because the integrity of the House is at stake.


"The House will also go ahead to dissolve the committee and constitute a new one to continue with the work of the ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy. The new committee may also be asked to review what the Farouk Lawan-led committee has already done.


Dissolving the committee means that Lawan ceases to be its chairman. Lawan can only be suspended as a member of the House if he is indicted by the ethics committee or any other committee specifically set up for the purposes of investigating him."


Reps to set up panel

However, as the House reconvenes for an emergency session, sources confirm that a committee will be set up to investigate the bribery scandal. This is also as the embattled chairman of the ad-hoc committee that probed the oil subsidy funds, Lawan is expected to resign at the emergency plenary session today.


However, the composition of the committee is not yet known, but it is the prerogative of the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, to solely appoint who he so wishes.


Nonetheless, it is believed that the speaker may not go beyond members of his kitchen cabinet as members of the probe panel.


"You don't expect the speaker to appoint members who have an axe to grind with Hon. Lawan. He will be mindful of the sharp division that now exists in the House as a result of this scandal. So it is expected that very close allies of the speaker will make the panel," said a source.


It was also gathered that Lawan has vowed not to surrender the money, until he appears before any panel that may be set up.


Sources said the House may disband the ad-hoc committee that was led by Lawan.
It was gathered from reliable sources that, barring last-minute adjustments, Lawan will be suspended by the House.


It was also gathered that the special session, which was conveyed specially on the orders of the leadership of the House, is going to be aired live on one of the nation's television stations.


LEADERSHIP checks revealed that members are enraged by the scandal and its effect on the image of the entire House and are pushing for the highest penalty that can be meted out to the alleged receivers of the bribe. This position is not unconnected to the fact that they also feel that the executive is trying to further worsen the situation by implicating the leadership of the House in the bribery scam.


A lawmaker who spoke off the record said, "The worse part of it all is the implication on the image of the House. And now, the dimension that the executive is taking of roping in the leadership of the House seeks to worsen the already bad situation. This is why we had to move fast and convene this emergency session before things spin out of control."


I won't interfere - Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday dispelled reports in the media alleging his involvement in the bribery scandal involving Lawan and a petroleum marketing firm, saying and does not nurse any plan to interfere in matters concerning the House.


Accordingly, Jonathan warned that the lawmakers and law enforcement agencies should be given a level playing field "to conduct and conclude investigations without further unhelpful distractions", adding that "the attempt to drag the presidency into the matter is entirely speculative and without factual foundation".


In a statement by Dr. Reuben Abati, his special adviser on media and publicity, President Jonathan reiterated his earlier directive to the attorney-general of the Federation on the report of the ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy, saying the said report "as adopted by the House of Representatives subsists and he fully expects that all those indicted in the report will be duly investigated and prosecuted if a prima facie case is established against them", recent developments such as the bribe scandal notwithstanding.


The statement reads in part: "Neither the president nor anyone acting on his request or order has anything to do with the scandal that has sadly engulfed the House ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy.


"Against the background of its avowed commitment to the effective prosecution of the war against corruption in Nigeria, the presidency notes with satisfaction that, given the seriousness of the scandal, the House of Representatives has already recalled its members from recess for a special session to deliberate on it tomorrow (today)."



Police Detain Farouk Lawan Overnight.

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