FEMI Otedola, the founder of Zenon Oil, has denied the claim that he offered to bribe former House of Representatives’ member, Farouk Lawan, when the latter chaired a legislative committee that probed alleged fuel subsidy scam.
Otedola said this while testifying before the Federal Capital Territory High Court on Wednesday in the bribery case brought against Lawan by the Federal Government.
Lawan was caught on camera stuffing dollar bills into his flowing dress and some into his cap, money he accepted as bribe from Otedola in order to remove his company from the list of those being probed for subsidy scam
At the hearing on Wednesday, Otedola said he could not have offered to influence the lawmakers as he was certain his company was never part of the companies that received subsidy grants from the Federal Government at the time.
Lawan had actually demanded $3 million which he said would be used to settle the other lawmakers. However, after receiving the initial $500,000, Lawan removed Zenon Oil from the list of companies being probed.
“I could not have put pressure on him because Zenon Oil was not involved in the theft of the subsidy fund,” Otedola told the court.
“He did demand. And if he did not demand, why will he collect and expect a balance of $2.5 million? He mentioned to me that the $3 million will be shared by himself and some other members of the House.
“Moreover, the company in question was not involved in the importation of petroleum motor spirit (PMS) and as such never applied to withdraw from the petroleum fund.”
“I did not offer any $3 million, because I was one of the biggest players in the business. And I reported the matter initially when I found out about the scam. And he (Lawan) mentioned to me that several companies that were involved in the scam were paying. And I reported to the SSS.”
The case was adjourned 28, 2019, for the witness to be cross-examined.
Lawan was first arraigned before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the FCT High Court in February 2013 alongside another accused person, Boniface Emenalo, for allegedly receiving a total of $620,000 from Otedola.
Justice Banjoko later pulled out of the case after he was accused of bias by the defence.
The charge was later amended to reflect that the actual amount Lawan received was $500,000, not $620,000, and as such, Lawan was re-arraigned in December.