Chief Femi Otedola, a prosecution witnes in the trial of former member House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan, over bribery allegations, told an FCT High Court sitting in Apo, Monday, that the $500,000 he offered Lawan was from the coffers of the Department of State Service ( DSS).
Otedola, responding to a question by the defence’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, said the money was given to him by the DSS after he wrote a petition against Lawan that he demanded a $3m bribe from him to exonirate his oil company from the subsidy scam.
Odetoka, under cross examination, explained that the $500,000 formed part payment of the $3m Lawan demanded as bribe.
He said the money was given under the supervision of the DSS.
Explaining further, the Chief Executive Officer of Zenon Oil, said he petitioned the DSS immediately Lawan demanded the bribe.
“Lawan said he was going to exonerate my company after giving him the money”, Otedola told the court.
After informing the DSS, according to him, security cameras were mounted in his living room to capture the exchange of money between him and the defendant.
Asked if he has the video of the meeting, he said it is in the possession of the DSS.
He said he gave Lawan the $500,000 in two tranches of $250,000 each.
When reminded by Chief Ozekhome, that the best time “to catch a thief is when the operation is ongoing”, Otedola said he does not know why the DSS failed to arrest Lawan oat that moment.
The judge, Justice Angela Otaluka, adjourned till March 8 for continuation of cross examination of prosecution witness.
Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission is prosecuting Lawan for allegedly “corruptly” collecting $500,000 out of the $3m bribe he requested from Otedola in exchange for the removal of the businessman’s company’s name from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.