I’m Not in Custody of $620,000, Lawmaker Writes Tambuwal

Onwuka Nzeshi

The mystery over the whereabouts of the $620,000 bribe suspended Chairman, Ad-Hoc Committee on the Monitoring Subsidy Regime, Hon. Farouk Lawan, collected from oil magnate, Mr. Femi Otedola, to clear his company of alleged fraud deepened yesterday as the person the embattled lawmakers claimed he gave it to denied receiving it.

Lawan had claimed in a statement shortly after the scandal broke that he wrote the Chairman, House Committee on Drugs Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Hon Jagaba Adams Jagaba, informing him of attempts to bribe him and he attached the money to the letter.

Jagaba, who had last week exclusively told reporter that neither him nor any member of his committee was aware of the letter Lawan, said he wrote, in a letter dated June 19, addressed to the House Speaker, Hon.  Aminu Tambuwal, formally denied knowledge of the letter and denied being in possession of the $620,000 bribe that was said to be in his custody.

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The letter, which  was titled “Re: Investigation Activities: Request for Handing Over of  Exhibits in Connection with a Case of Criminal Conspiracy Taking  Gratification to Pervert the  Course of Justice  read: “I wish to categorically and unequivocally state that there was never a time I was in possession of the sum of $620,000 or any other exhibits (in my personal capacity or official capacity as Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes) relating to the subject matter of the above investigation.

“I hope this explanation lays to rest once and for all the claims that I or my committee is in possession of the sum of $620,000 purportedly given as bribe to the Ad-hoc Committee on the Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy Regime.”

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Jagaba’s letter was in response to another letter from Tambuwal directing him to react to the claim by Lawan that he (Jagaba) was in possession of the exhibit.

Tambuwal’s letter which was dated June 18, and  signed by his Special Adviser on Legal and Legislative Matters, Hon.  Chille Igbawa, was a response to a letter from the acting Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, asking for the reaction of the speaker to the bribery scam.

Abubakar’s letter, signed on his behalf by Mr Ali Amodu, a Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Task Force on Subsidy Bribe Investigation,  had requested Tambuwal to  supply information on the $620,000 exhibit as well as any other material evidence that may be of use to the ongoing police  investigation.

Meanwhile, Lawan neither attended the plenary sitting of the House yesterday nor was  he at the Force Headquarters.

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He had told the police on Monday that he would  not  be  able to report at the Force Headquarters yesterday   because he would be   attending the sitting of the House  to enable him to retrieve the $620,000 bribe so as to hand it over to the police.

But sources said the lawmaker was at home yesterday consulting with him lawyers and receiving visitors, adding that the police were not expecting him yesterday, otherwise he would have been there.
However, he is expected to report at the Force Headquarters today.

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