Last year Farouk Lawan, a lawmaker from Nigeria, led a parliamentary fuel subsidy committee to probe Nigeria’s fuel subsidy scheme in search of corruption. He ended up writing a scathing report which named some of Nigeria’s most powerful government officials and oil companies as part of a $6.8 billion scam based on fraudulent transactions which enabled them to grow rich.
Lawan has since been arrested and appeared in court being charged with accepting a $3 million bribe from billionaire oil tycoon Femi Otedola, one of Nigeria’s richest and most powerful men, in order to remove Otedola’s company, Zenon Petroleum, from the list of fraudsters.
The charges laid before him read: “You Farouk Lawan ... in the course of your official duty corruptly asked for the sum of $3 million for yourself from Femi Otedola ... to afterwards show favour to Femi Otedola.”
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Lawan has pleaded not guilty, and his supporters claim that this is just an attempt to try and discredit him by the very same people that his report implicates.
Otedola will not face any action as reward for coming forward and owning up to the bribe and naming Lawan as its recipient. Again supporters of Lawan just say that this is proof that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is working with Otedol in an attempt to avoid embarrassment.
Lawan has admitted to being offered the bribe, but said that he only accepted it in order to expose Otedola and prove his guilt, disclosing the entire deal to parliament and leaving the entire sum of money with them.
If found guilty Lawan’s report could be thrown out, marking the end of any attempt to seek justice regarding the scandal; despite the fact that two separate reports have also made similar conclusions.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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