Jonathan denies masterminding House bribery scandal

President Goodluck Jonathan has denied instigating the $3 million bribery that has rocked the House of Representatives, denouncing media reports that have accused the presidency of staging the scandal as a cover to oust an apparently unfriendly House leadership.

The president said on Thursday, the allegations were “lame and diversionary” in what appears a prompt rebuttal that intends to reverse a public perception rapidly shaped by the media’s citing of the political undertone of the bribery.

The central figures in the episode, oil marketer Femi Otedola, and the chairman, House adhoc committee on fuel subsidy management, Farouk Lawan, have admitted their roles in offering and receiving a $620,000 kickback respectively.

Mr. Lawan, who led the investigation into how oil marketers defrauded the government of over a trillion naira in a sham fuel subsidy between 2009 and 2011, exonerated two companies belonging to Mr. Otedola, after receiving the money. The amount was an advance payment for $3 million.

Both men have however denied offering or taking bribe, claiming instead to have acted to expose the other. The payment was secretly videotaped by law enforcement agents, on the cooperation of Mr. Otedola, a major financier of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr. Otedola has been questioned by the police, and the House has announced an emergency session on Friday to discuss the incident.

In earlier reports highlighting the details and context of the operation, PREMIUM TIMES hinted at the government’s effort at determining possible partisan interest in the House investigation, and how the PDP scrambled to wade off a desperate legislative action when it became clear to the House leadership Mr. Lawan had been trapped.

The reports have fuelled media speculation that peaked on Thursday with allegations the sting operation received presidential and party blessings, and was targeted at roping in, and eventually removing a House leadership that has appeared defiant to party positions.

In a statement on Thursday evening, signed by Aso rock spokesperson, Reuben Abati, Mr. Jonathan denied acting personally or through a representative to initiate the scandal.

“For the benefit of unwary members of the public who may be deceived by the political innuendoes now being woven into the subsidy probe bribe affair, President Jonathan wishes to affirm that he has absolutely no reason or desire to meddle in the affairs of the House of Representatives and its leadership,” the president said.

The president said he was satisfied the House of Representatives has already recalled its members from recess for a special session to deliberate on the scandal and said he stood by his directive that the initial House report be re-investigated and those found guilty, punished.

“Recent developments notwithstanding, President Jonathan’s directive to the Attorney-General of the Federation on the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, 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,” the president said.


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  • KenMani

    There is nothing to deny here. The Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are merely falling into the pit that they dug for themselves. Was it Jonathan that instructed dishonorable Hon. Farouk Lawan to go about collecting bribes? No; it was the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani Speaker of the House of Representatives dishonorable Hon Aminu Tambuwaal that raised up his kinsman Farouk Lawan and instructed to him to go about collecting bribes indiscriminately. I have said it and will continue to say it passionately that, Nigeria without the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani will be a far better country than the USA, Canada, UK etc. etc etc. while Nigeria with the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani will be a far worse country than Somalia, Yemen, Chad, Niger etc. etc. etc.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      on point.

  • concernednigerian

    A corrupt politician is a corrupt politician. Jonathan never thought Farouk Lawan how to be corrupt. Corruption is ingrained in the far North that is why there is endemic almajiri problem despite all the amount they have collected from the Central government by lawful means and by stealth and deception. Lawan, the extortionist, should have resigned and surrendered himself to the Police but that is not happening because he came from the Muslim North where corruption is an article of faith. How many Northern politicians have been disgraced because of corruption? Yet the poverty in the North says a lot about the wholesale looting of public funds by the Northern Muslim elite. The far North should put their house in order before gunning for the presidency in 2019 and they can begin by compelling Lawan to fall on his sword. Leave Jonathan out of the corruption of Lawan. No ethnic group has been favoured as much as the Muslim North. A history graduate even became the Governor of Central Bank; a Sudanese trained Sharia law graduate who has published no meaningful article on economics is the governor of Central Bank all because of Northern Muslim connection. Yet they have the temerity to describe others of ‘cluelessness’. The far-North should seek a country of their own or federate with Chad, Niger or Cameroun and let the rest of us have peace of mind. Of course they can take along with them the incendiary elements in the South West, not least Oshun State. Corruption of the Muslim North is killing Nigeria. The Muslim North should have class and keep Lawan and his ilk out of the corridors of the legislature.

    • concernednigerian

      Correction: ‘thought’ should be read ‘taught’

    • Thosesecrets

      You are right. In addition, I still strongly believe that Hausa’s / Northerners should be pulled out of our financial and security systems. They are like worms in our body. People like Sanusi should be out of the CBN as it is obvious that he is being used by Norther politicians. Finally, Jonathan may not be completely clean in this settings and so he also needs a replacement due to serious security problems Nigeria faces everyday. He is too dull.

  • Basirat_Minna

    It is unbelievable to me that all the commentators on this page would lay the blame of corruption in the country on the North and Hausas. Nigeria is corrupt because people from every corner are corrupt. Nigeria is disunited because people like Ken Mani, ThosesecretsCollapse, concernednigerianCollapse are bigots. Very little seperates them from terrorists like Boko Haram that reap only hate and not understanding.
    If u turn ur heads at the kind of pilfering that is going on right now, like in the Malibu Deal, The Tompolo Maritime deal and blame only the north, then this country is truely going no where.
    You should all be ashamed of urselves and the hate you seek to preach. Look at urselves and accept that ur as poisonous as Boko Haram.