Farouk Lawan, the federal lawmaker embroiled in allegations of bribery, on Thursday, told police officers that he will surrender the $500,000 being part of the $620,000 he and a colleague accepted from oil magnate, Femo Otedola.
Lawan, however, told the Special Task Force Commissioner, Ali Ahmodu, that he will only surrender the money before witnesses which would include his lawyers, Mike Ozhekome and Israel Olorundare.
This new twist is expected to have occurred after police investigators mounted pressure on the lawmaker, who had earlier claimed to have handed the money over to the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Adams Jagaba.
Jagaba had denied receiving any communication or money from Lawan when the House Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, had requested him to cooperate with police investigators by producing the money.
“When subjected to intense pressure by CP Ahmadu, Lawan finally cracked and said he was tired of the drama and stories surrounding the matter,” said a senior police officer involved in the case, who did not want his name published. “In an agitated tone, he said he will bring the money before weekend on the condition that there would be witnesses there. This is the breakthrough investigators needed to conclude the case.”
This is not the first time that Lawan, a fourth term member of the House, is twisting tales since the beginning of this saga. A day after Otedola had revealed that he was part of a sting operation by security agents that had bribed Lawan, the former ad-hoc committee investigating fuel subsidy payments had denied receiving any money from the businessman.
However, the next day, he agreed to having accepted $500,000 because he wanted to expose the corrupt tendencies of Otedola. The secretary of the committee, Boniface Emenalo, also collected a further $120,000, on his instructions.
Lawan, labeled by the police as a prime suspect in the case, has continued to maintain that he is innocent of the bribery allegations. “In all these mud thrown at my person, I assure you that I shall always walk on the path of truth and service,” he said on his Twitter account.
If he does produce the money, which Otedola claims was marked by security agents, it is expected that it will aid police investigators wrap up the case and begin prosecution against everyone found to be complicit in the bribery scandal.