Police investigators questioned Farouk Lawan, chairman, House of Representatives adhoc committee on fuel subsidy management for hours into late night Thursday, over allegation he altered the committee’s report after receiving $600,000 bribe from oil marketer, Femi Otedola.
Mr. Lawan has accepted receiving the money which was videotaped by law enforcement agents in sting operation, but said he acted to prove to the House the pressure his committee faced while probing oil companies that defrauded the nation of more than N1 trillion.
Mr. Otedola, a billionaire oil businessman, also admits paying the money, but also claims to have acted to expose Mr. Lawan’s pressure on him to pay bribes to clear his company, Zenon Ltd.
Mr. Otedola was earlier questioned by the police on Tuesday. He was later released.
Police spokesperson, Frank Mba, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES late Thursday night that Mr. Lawan was at the force headquarters and was being questioned.
“I can confirm that Hon Farouk Lawan reported to the police headquarters today. He came in this evening and he is currently undergoing interrogation with a team of our investigators at the Force headquarters, here in Abuja,” he said.
It was not clear whether the lawmaker was to be released Thursday. Mr. Mba said it was “too early” to be certain since the interrogation was ongoing at the time.
“It is still too early to say whether he will sleep with us or not as interrogation is still ongoing,” he said.
The scandal has angered many Nigerians and even lawmakers and has sparked allegations it was masterminded by the presidency and the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to oust the House leadership, while Mr. Otedola, a major party financier, was protected from trial.
The presidency denied the allegations in a statement on Thursday, describing it as “baseless”.
An emergency House of Reps plenary has been convened for Friday and Mr. Lawan is expected to step down from the committee.