Nigerian lawmaker in $3m bribe scam

2013-02-01 18:10
(Picture: Shutterstock)

(Picture: Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Abuja - A lawmaker who led a corruption probe into Nigeria's fuel subsidy last year was charged on Friday with accepting a $3m bribe from a billionaire oil tycoon to remove his company from the list of fraudsters.

Nigerian legislator Farouk Lawan blew the lid on a $6.8bn scam in a state fuel subsidy, exposing a web of fraudulent transactions that enabled corrupt officials and fuel marketers to grow rich, often without delivering a drop of fuel.

He pleaded not guilty in court on Friday to four counts of bribery brought against him by the federal government and his supporters say he is being targeted by those implicated in his investigation.

Africa's largest crude exporter has to import 80 percent of its fuel needs because its refineries are in disrepair. The government pays a subsidy on the fuel, which breeds corruption and is the single biggest drain of the federal budget.

Lawan's arrest risks discrediting his findings, although two subsequent independent probes have come to similar conclusions.

He is accused of taking $500 000 - part of an agreed $3m bribe - from Femi Otedola, one of Nigeria's richest men, to keep his oil firm Zenon Petroleum out of his report.

"You Farouk Lawan ... in the course of your official duty corruptly asked for the sum of $3m for yourself from Femi Otedola ... to afterwards show favour to Femi Otedola," charges read in the Abuja High Court said.

The judge ordered that Lawan be remanded in police custody until a bail hearing on 8 February.

Conspiracy

Another member of Lawan's parliamentary fuel subsidy committee, Emenalo Boniface, is charged on three counts for also demanding the bribe from Otedola, who will not face prosecution because he told the authorities about the deal.

Lawan's supporters say this is evidence he was a set up by President Goodluck Jonathan's administration, in collusion with Otedola, because they were embarrassed by his findings.

Lawan's lawyer said last year that the case was a conspiracy brought by fraudulent oil marketers and powerful government officials who wanted his report discredited. He said Lawan accepted the bribe only to expose Otedola, saying he disclosed the payment to parliament and left the cash there.

If Lawan is found guilty it could end any attempt to seek justice in the subsidy scandal, an outcome likely to please Nigeria's powerful oil marketers and some corrupt government officials, but enrage the public.

The report fingered several fuel companies, including a local unit of ExxonMobil, as being involved and called for the board of the state oil firm, including its head Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, to resign.

Lawan's report was scathing about some of Nigeria's most powerful people - few would dare take on the oil minister - and was an embarrassment to Jonathan, whose office pledged to prosecute those implicated but urged patience.

NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your ideas may feel like a sea of thoughts swimming around every which way, and now you need to find something to contain them in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.