Lawmakers want details of the purported clearance of N140 billion debt by businessman, Femi Otedola, made public.
An eight-member House of Representatives panel, headed by Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, is to review a purported clearance of N140.9 billion bank debt by businessman, Femi Otedola; after lawmakers raised concerns with the deal’s confidentiality.
Mr. Gbajabiamila will work with other lawmakers, Sani Kalgo, Pally Iriase, Uzor Azubuike, Evelyn Ojakabor, Idris Wase, Jerry Manwe and Muraina Ajibola, on the case, and their findings submitted within a month.
The transaction raised eyebrows after the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, claimed it received the huge sum in cash and asset from Mr. Otedola, barely a week after he was blacklisted by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The CBN order listed Mr. Otedola as the biggest bad debtor to the banks with N140.9 billion uncleared, and barred the banks from offering the oil marketer further credit.
In a curious move, AMCON chief executive, Mustapha Chike-Obi, declined the disclosure of details of the payment which allegedly took place in days, claiming confidentiality rules.
The House said the secrecy was suspect and vowed a probe.
Abimbola Daramola (Ekiti/ACN) who raised the matter under the Urgent National Importance rules said the AMCON Act requires the company’s operations to be made open to the media, National Assembly, Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank.
The purported payment under confidentiality provision violated that stipulation, the lawmakers argued on Thursday.
“If the full extent and spectrum of the transaction is not looked at, it may be a harbinger of a catastrophic disaster worse than the near collapse witnessed in the Stock Market where many Nigerians not only lost their life investments but lives,” Mr. Daramola said.Mr. Otedola has had a troubling run with the House since he claimed setting up a member, Farouk Lawan, for bribes; although lawmakers say he actually bribed Mr. Lawan to get his company, Zenon, off the list of indicted marketers that stole subsidy money.
The investigations into the $3 million scandal have stalled at the House and with the police, with police claiming they have no evidence against either party.
Earlier in a statement, House spokesperson, Zakari Mohammed, said the procedure by AMCON for clearing the debt, was “unacceptable.”
“It is imperative to state that with the state of our economy this transaction was done with ‘confidentiality and secrecy’,” he said.
He said the “National Assembly would be interested in getting full details of the transaction.”