SUSPENDED lawmaker Farouk Lawan yesterday appeared before the Police Special Task Force probing the bribe-for-clearance scandal.
The police are searching for the $620,000 bribe businessman Femi Otedola gave Lawan, chairman of the House Committee which probed the fuel subsidy scandal. Lawan has confessed that he collected the cash, saying it was to prove that Otedola bribed him.
The Zenon Oil chair says the lawmaker put pressure on him to part with the money, which security agents gave to him to facilitate a sting operation against Lawan.
Also yesterday, the police began a fresh analysis of the video tape of the bribery saga and launched a fresh search for the cash, which Lawan has refused to surrender.
The police retrieved the video tape from the State Security Service (SSS), which conducted the sting operation.
Besides, the police sent enquiries to banks on any trace of a “strange lodgment” of such amount in the last one and a half months.
But members of the Lawan Ad Hoc Committee are yet to get any police invitation on the bribe, contrary to some reports.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that Lawan barely spent one hour with the police team, which asked him to report again tomorrow.
A police source said: “The Representative came to us without any response yet on how to facilitate contact with the Chairman of the House Committee on Narcotics, Drugs and Financial Crimes, Mr. Adam Jagaba.
“After a short interaction with Lawan, the lawmaker was asked to go and report on Wednesday for further briefing on the matter.”
Asked whether Lawan produced the cash, the police source said: “Not yet. We are expecting to hear from Jagaba.”
One of the counsel to Lawal, Mr. Israel Olorundare (SAN), said: “The lawmaker was with the police and he was asked to come back on Wednesday. He was just there briefly.”
The source, however, added that the police are looking beyond the intrigues over the whereabouts of the money.
“I can conveniently tell you that we have retrieved the video tape to get the details of what transpired between Otedola and Lawan. We are reviewing this tape to determine the extent of the involvement of others in the bribery.
“The review will enable us to re-invite Otedola and Lawan for interaction.
“So far, we are still exploring clues on how to get the bribe, including checking lodgements in and out of Lawan’s accounts and a few other suspected accomplices.
“It may task us a bit but we are hopeful that we will get the bribe sum. We have also been relating with banks in tracking down the money.
“We have isolated some banks for investigation. We hope they will cooperate with us.”
As at press time, there were strong indications that members of the Ad Hoc Committee were yet to be invited by the police.
A member of the committee, who spoke in confidence, said: “None of us has received any letter of invitation or summon from the Police.
“But since we have nothing to hide, we will honour the police, if they want us.”