- Posted February 7, 2013 by
Nigerian MP bribed by oil tycoon to drop inquiry
Farouk Lawan allegedly reaped $500,000 of a $3 million bribe from an oil tycoon to drop his company from the investigation. Despite the charges, he pleaded not guilty in court and there are claims that he is being targeted by those implicated in the probe.
The claims that he is being set up fit with reports from last year that he accused members in the House of Representative committee of facilitating corruption in oil imports. Nigeria is one of the continent’s leading oil producers but the majority of its own fuel is imported.
Lawan also called for a total overhaul of the oil ministry and for the prosecution of companies and individuals who benefited from the scam. The inquiry was established after protests were sparked in January 2012 by the government’s attempt to remove a fuel subsidy.
Lawan was implicated in the scam by oil billionaire Femi Otedola, who alleges that Lawan demanded $3 million to remove his firm Zenon from the inquiry. This claim is reportedly supported by video evidence of the bribe.
Lawan claimed that he accepted the money in order to expose the blackmail and that he had informed the relevant authorities of his motives, however the leader of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said that he was not informed and did not receive any of the money.
Otedola’s role in this incident is also in the spotlight; it is also illegal in Nigeria to give bribes as well as receive them, which has prompted some to ask why Otedola has not faced any legal action. The State Security Services have since claimed however that Otedola was acting as part of a sting operation.