Oil marketer, Femi Otedola, who paid $620,000 to House of Representatives member, Faouk Lawan, to get his companies exonerated from the list of firms that abused government fuel subsidy, has dismissed the House’s decision to re-list the companies as “blackmail” aimed at extorting money from him.
The House today suspended Mr. Farouk Lawan, the chairman of its ad hoc committee which looked into the management of the government’s oil subsidy, over the $620,000 Mr. Lawan collected from him. In collaboration with State Security Services, the transaction was recorded on audio-visual equipment.
Read his press statement
STATEMENT FROM MR FEMI OTEDOLA FOLLOWING THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DELIBERATIONS ON THE BRIBERY SCANDAL TODAY
I have stated the facts in my interview with Thisday newspaper and nothing but the facts. That Farouk Lawan demanded $3 million from me and because I refused to oblige him he included the name of Zenon amongst those who bought forex without importing petroleum products. He did this without even asking Zenon to produce a single document of the forex transaction. He clearly wanted to extort money for an offence I did not commit. That is why I went to report to the security agencies. If I had anything to hide I wouldn’t have gone to the agencies. There is an old adage that says “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones”.
Moreover it is not possible to purchase $232, 975,385.13 million from CBN without importing the product. The total figure is not even $232, 975,385.13 million as alleged but $372, 207, 990 million. They should go and amend the report to read $372, 207, 990 million which is the correct figure. It is not possible to purchase this volume of forex from the CBN with first class banks such as Access bank, FCMB, GTB, UBA and an international bank BNP Paribas which is one of the biggest and most respected banks in the world.
If people at my level who have worked hard to build their businesses can be blackmailed this way all in a bid to extort money from them, I pity people that are just starting out in business in this country. In all my business dealings I have always been above board and the records are there to prove. As far as I know Lawan could not have been working alone in this extortionist plot. A tree does not make a forest. Let me also state for the records that we are not in any way affiliated to the other company Synopsis enterprises Ltd also included in the report. Actions of today by the house is laughable, a mere celebration of corruption and a further indictment on their honorable member.