By Ike Abonyi and Ejiofor Alike
The suspended Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Monitoring of the Fuel Subsidy regime, Hon. Farouk Lawan, was Tuesday night barred from travelling out of the country at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Lawan, who is currently under investigation for collecting $500,000 from the Chairman, Zenon Petroleum & Gas Ltd, Mr. Femi Otedola, to doctor the report of the House ad hoc committee, was scheduled to board an Emirates Airline flight en route to Saudi Arabia to perform the lesser Hajj when he was stopped by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) at the airport and prevented from leaving the country.
Lawan, THISDAY gathered, was very embarrassed when he was informed by the SSS that he would not be allowed to travel and was seen frantically making phone calls to what was believed to be “highly placed people in government” to help him out of his predicament.
Reliable sources in the SSS confirmed that the decision to bar Lawan from travelling stemmed from the fact that he is considered a flight risk and might seize the opportunity to flee the country in order to avoid arrest and arraignment.
As at press time, it wasn’t certain if Lawan eventually got his way and was allowed to travel or not.
THISDAY had exclusively reported that the police had concluded their investigation into the cash-for-clearance scandal involving Lawan and the clerk to the ad hoc committee, Mr. Boniface Emanalo, and had forwarded their report to the Legal Department for advice.
It was learnt that the police investigative team, headed by Ali Amodu, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Task Force, was able to gather incriminating evidence which would be used to prosecute Lawan and Emenalo in court.
A source told THISDAY that in its response, the Police Legal Department recommended the trial of the duo.
Having finished their investigation, the police have sent the case file to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke for his consideration, preparatory to Lawan’s arraignment.
Adoke, it was gathered, is studying the case file and would take a decision this week on whether the police, which investigated the allegation, have enough evidence to sustain a trial in court.