House says Farouk Lawan should face trial over $600,000 bribery allegation

The House of Representatives vowed on Saturday to back full investigations into an allegation that its member, Farouk Lawan, who headed the adhoc committee that unearthed a trillion naira fuel subsidy fraud, received huge bribes to exonerate one of the oil cartels.

Media reports have accused Mr. Lawan, a fourth-term member of the House, of accepting $600,000 (about N96 million) to absolve an unnamed oil company of complicity in the expansive subsidy fraud that totaled over N2 trillion.

Mr. Lawan could not be reached Sunday morning. When contacted Saturday night, he said he was travelling between Kano and Abuja and would provide a written response to the allegation on arrival in the nation’s capital.

The exchange between Mr. Lawan and the company’s officials, was secretly videoed, and a clip sent to a former head of state, who in turn, delivered it to the speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, Vanguard newspaper, which first reported the scandal, said.

Mr. Tambuwal, the report further claimed, reportedly distanced himself from the episode after confronting Mr. Lawan with the details of the cash exchange, and has made it clear the house will not provide a cover for the misconduct.

In a statement late Saturday, the House said it will “never take side with corruption and we will always stand on the side of the rule of law.”

“While we await investigation into these weighty accusations, we wish to state without equivocation that this honourable House will never take side with corruption and we will always stand on the side of the rule of law,” chairman House committee on media and public affairs, Zakari Muhammed said.

“The reason we inaugurated the adhoc committee to look into the controversial subsidy regime in the first place was to expose corruption in the sector, as such, we cannot, for whatever reason, support any underhand dealing from any quarter,” Mr. Muhammed said.

The allegation is the latest in a series of concerns that the committee, whose report indicting several top government officials and offices was widely applauded by Nigerians, was compromised by those it set out to investigate.

In all the accusations, the committee denied involvement, including an alleged Valentine’s Day gift from an oil company. The gift-presented as an ordinary greetings package but with cash within – was allegedly delivered to the committee’s secretariat before February 14.

In exchanges with PREMIUM TIMES at that time, Mr. Lawan said he had given instructions that no gift should be accepted by any committee member or secretariat official. Also, the head of the company in question confirmed a gift was sent to the committee, but denied it included money.

“It was just valentine’s greetings as a demonstration of love,” the official told PREMIUM TIMES.

If confirmed, the revelation would be a grave blow for a House that has attempted to steer its affairs away from a past of controversies, scandals and corruption. It comes barely two months after a similar allegation of bribery against the House committee on capital market forced the suspension of its former members.

Herman Hembe, who headed the committee, has been charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for fraud while a promised internal House inquiry has yet to commence.

The House has not clearly stated whether a similar in-house probe will be undertaken against Mr. Lawan as it commenced its annual recess last Thursday.

Mr. Muhammed said despite the allegation, the House stood by the reports of the Farouk Lawan committee, and hoped the development will not be cited by the executive as a reason for their non-implementation.

“However, these accusations, whatever their merits, do not detract from the quality of the work done by the committee. The report of that committee was adopted by the whole house and we stand by the resolutions of the house,” he said.

“We hope that the executive will not, because of this allegation, abandon its commitment towards bringing to justice, the culprits already in the committee’s report.”


 

 


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  • ilubarde

    “HOW THE COOKIE CRUMBLES”, is the title of a classic thriller novel by the acknowledged story teller, James Hardly Chase and this title aptly describes this sad end to an otherwise ‘excellent’ legislative career of Hon. Faruk Lawan. Hon. Faruk Lawan ought is an intelligent person. He ought to know that if you decide to dine with the devil, you should use a long spoon. And, that if you live in a glass house, throwing stones, should not be one of your pastimes. The Federal Government is a cesspit of corruption. If you decide to fight it, you should be prepared for many battles of your life. This is one battle that Hon Lawan should have decided not to fight. He should have learnt from Nuhu. He was given a large amount of money as bribe to compromise the prosecution of Governor Ibori. What did he do? He collected the money, informed the security, deposited the money in the Central Bank of Nigeria and obtained a receipt for it. He then kept quiet. When Ibori made the information of bribery public in order to compromise Ribadu’s integrity, Ribadu gave his own account and Ibori was silenced forever. Sadly, we cannot say the same for our beloved ‘giant’ , Hon. Faruk Lawan.

  • Dan kasa Nagari

    They just want to divert the masses attention. Nigerian are still waiting to hear what decision they are going to take on the issue of fule subsidy and pension stealings, we have never had an enept government, scondaering embezzling pub;lic funds like the present govt. masses bloos is flowing in in to nigerian rivers everday, power is not stable. What a disgress both Houses (NASS) and the EXecutive no body point at the corrupt Ministers talkless of resigning

    • Socjurist

      Farouk Lawan has been doing this for long. Do you think, that all the results of elections that turned him in, as a PDP candidate contesting for the House of Rep since 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 in Kano are genuine?

  • Isyak

    WHERE IS THE FUEL SUBSIDY REPORT FIRST AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE ON THE PENSION CORRUPTION ISSUES

  • Honshira

    It is always not easy to touch the untouchable and get away with it, could this be a reason to throw the report in to dustbin ? Hm may God be with us, to Faruok lawan I say may the almighty Allah continue to protect us from the hands of our enemies .

    • Socjurist

      Our real enemies are people like Farouk Lawan, most members of federal, state and local government legislative bodies, including the executives and judiciaries, as well as insensitive people like you, who lacked sense of shame by praying/supplicating to corrupt officials.

  • Abu

    Hon faruk lawan,Don,t worry ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY is with you.He will see you thro.

    • Socjurist

      You’re not the only Muslims in Nigeria. Allah will never see him through this corrupt act. This is how fake-Allah loving Muslim brothers and sisters of mine have for years being sterile in dealing with corrupt people in our midst, while allowing corruption to expose millions of real-Allah loving Muslims in Nigeria to poverty and misery.