Street Journal’s findings have revealed that the House of Representatives might be in for stormy sessions in the next few days over a bribery allegation that is trailing the fuel subsidy probe. At the centre of the bribery scandal is the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy, the much trusted Hon. Farouk Lawan.
Findings revealed that the amount involved runs to about $3,000,000 and that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission are set to move in anytime from now. There are insinuations that the Speaker of the House has been notified by the EFCC that it intends to invite Hon Lawan and that the Speaker has made it known that the embattled legislator is on his own.
The happenings within legislative circles have gone a long way to corroborate a story published by Street Journal in February, titled “Nigeria’s House of Reps In Fraudulent Probe Of Frauds!” The story can be read by clicking the link http://thestreetjournal.org/2012/02/nigeria%E2%80%99s-house-of-reps-in-fraudulent-probe-of-frauds/ In the story, it was stated that the whole probe might just end up as a mere television show. Factors that were likely to affect the report of the panel were also outlined.
While it is being alleged in some quarters that the Honourable Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal got wind of the matter and confronted Lawan over the issue in a meeting of Principal Officers of the House. Street Journal gathered that in the meeting, Honourable Lawan was given a chance to state his own side of the story. It was gathered that he vehemently denied until the details of what transpired between him and the executives of the oil companies that offered him the bribe.
It was also alleged that the meeting was captured on video by one of the oil company officials with the aid of a pen recorder. Insinuations are rife that the video might find its way to Youtube and other websites soon. Street Journal gathered that copies of the video were already in possession of the Speaker of the House of Reps.
Supporters of Farouk Lawan within and outside the National Assembly are however telling a different story. One of the Principal Officers in the House disclosed that it was Lawan that actually blew the lid off the scandal by reporting to security agents that an oil baron had attempted to bribe him with $ 600,000.
Another member of the House also stated that Lawan had attempted to present the money publicly during one of the House’s plenary sessions but that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party prevailed upon him not to do so in order not to embarrass the party.
Meanwhile, the whole country is still awaiting the report of the probe of the oil sector as it would go a long way in determining how things would run in the sector.
While allegations of fraud trail the Chairman of the ad hoc committee that investigated the trillions spent on subsidizing fuel, it is being insinuated in some quarters that the whole thing might yet be a plot within a grand scheme to throw away the report of the committee. Those in this school of thought are quick to bring it to remembrance that during the much celebrated power probe of the $ 16 billion spent on the power sector by the Obasanjo administration, a similar allegation was laid against Hon Ndudi Elumelu who was the Chairman of that probe panel.
Elumelu was picked up by the EFCC and thoroughly investigated. By the time the committee submitted its damning report which indicted a former President and a number of PDP Governors, a Report Review Committee was set up by the House of Representatives and the Review Committee which was headed by Hon. Tambuwal who is the current Speaker ensured that the main recommendations in the report were done away with.