Four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, representing Farouk Lawan have petitioned the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, asking for a face-to-face confrontation between the lawmaker and Otedola.
The lawyers are Mike Ozekhome, Rickey Tarfa, Isreal Olorundare and Sam Ologunorisa.
In a petition dated June 22 and obtained by our correspondent on Saturday, the lawyers urged the police to thoroughly investigate the allegation.
They said Lawan was willing “to have a face-to-face confrontation with Otedola before you (the IG) in the course of investigation into this matter.”
The SANs also faulted the video which allegedly contained what transpired between Otedola and their client.
They challenged the “State Security Service, the police, Mr. Otedola or any other person for that matter, to produce for public viewing the video or film and call logs of the conversation between him (Lawan) and Otedola unedited and undoctored.”
According to them, Lawan never visited Otedola’s house in Lagos to collect the $500,000.
The lawyers also claimed that the lawmaker did not hide the so-called bribe money “in his pocket, and the leftover inside his cap.”
In a nine-page petition titled, “Honourable Farouk Lawan and Mr. Femi Otedola: When the complainant becomes the suspect”, the lawyers said that their client briefed them that he never solicited $3m or any other sum from Otedola as bribe.
They stated, “The truth is that contrary to the various false publications in the press, which appear to swing the mood of the public against our client, our client maintains that whilst the report of the committee had been compiled, written and presented before the House and he was putting finishing touches to its formal debate in his hotel room at Protea Hotel, Apo, Abuja (to which he had relocated from his house to escape the unbearable pressure mounted on him by oil marketers, including Mr. Otedola), he was surprised when Otedola surfaced in the hotel on Saturday, 21, April, 2012 and called his room number.
“When our client let him in, he brought out a bundle of documents which he claimed showed that one of his oil companies, Zenon Oil, already indicted in the report, did not participate in the fuel subsidy scam.
“Our client states that, at this time, both Zenon Oil and AP Petroleum (now Forte Oil) had been both indicted based on available evidence. Mr. Otedola claimed that he was already aware of this indictment hence he decided to personally bring document to convince our client that that was not the case.”
The lawyers stated that their client collected the documents, adding that as Otedola was about to leave, he allegedly handed over $250,000 to Lawan.
They said Otedola told Lawan to ensure that his companies were removed from the list of indicted companies.
The lawyers stated, “This was the evening of Monday, April 23, a few days before the report was to be debated in the House, but few days after the final report had actually been laid before the House on April 17, 2012. Our client informed us that he had collected the money to display as exhibit that the committee had been under severe pressure and subtle threat to compromise its report.
“Our client states that Otedola called him severally and even pleaded with him to come to his house at Aso Drive, Abuja, for more of the documents which he claimed to have forgotten to bring to our client’s hotel room at Protea Hotel.
“Our client said he played along by going to Otedola’s house in the early hours of April 22, 2012 during which Otedola handed over more documents and a further sum of $250,000. Our client states that Otedola further offered to pay a total of $3m.
“As soon as he had collected the total sum of $500,000, our client immediately wrote a letter at 3.47am on April 24, 2012 to the Chairman, House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes titled “Offer of Monetary Inducement by Femi Otedola to influence Committee Report”.
“Our client attached the $500,000 offered by Otedola to him with a promise to bring another $2.5m.”
Curiously, Adams Jagaba, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, has since issued a statement that he received no money from Lawan
The lawyers said that from Lawan’s narration, it could be deduced that Otedola initiated the move through his persistent phone calls and text messages.
They added that no security agency, including the SSS or any other, was ever involved in the so-called sting operation against Lawan.