Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, on Wednesday said the suspended Chairman, House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime, Mr. Farouk Lawan, must resign and face criminal trial for allegedly collecting money from the Chairman of Zenon Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola, to influence his committee’s report.
Keyamo said in a statement on Wednesday that the “sequence of undisputed facts” of the scandal showed that Lawan “collected bribe purportedly on behalf of his committee to doctor his report”.
He likened the scandal to a robbery incident “which went terribly wrong”.
There has been a raging scandal involving an alleged collection of $620,000 by Lawan from Otedola, a development which has led to the airing of audio recordings of the duo’s telephone conversations about their negations and agreement on the bribe on television.
Lawan has however said the voice purportedly being portrayed to be his in the said conversation was doctored.
But Keyamo said, “Farouk Lawan must stop this dance of shame and save that House of whatever is left of its credibility by resigning from office immediately and face his criminal trial squarely. It is, indeed, himself and his hired goons that are turning this episode into a theatre of the absurd, and not the other way round.”
He wondered why Lawan refused to involve any law enforcement agency in his purported sting operation and why he only waited for the scandal to break out before taking any step.
“A few hours after collecting the dollars, Farouk Lawan stood up on the floor of the House and, instead of exposing Otedola, he was actually shielding him by convincing his colleagues to remove Otedola’s company name from the list of indicted companies in the report,” Keyamo said.
He dismissed the investigation by the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, of the scandal as “nothing but a laughable sham, a diversionary and disgraceful enterprise with a pre-determined end, an unconstitutional and illegal exercise and Nigerians must ignore it.”
He added, “The bare-faced denial by Farouk Lawan of his voice on those tapes, and the denial of his complicity despite these overwhelming evidence, gives the clear impression that we are dealing with a hardened, unrepentant crook who is like a thief caught with his hand in the cashbox, but still claims he was only checking the color of the money.
“In Japan, such persons like Farouk Lawan would have committed what they call ‘hara-kiri’.
“In America and Europe, he would have resigned immediately from public office in shame and beg for forgiveness.
“Unfortunately, here in Nigeria, and aided by dubious hired goons, he continues to deny the obvious. What a shame!”