I Collected Otedola’s $100,000 ‘bribe’ to Expose Him – Emenalo
The secretary to the then House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, said on Tuesday that he collected $100,000 from billionaire businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, in order to expose the oil magnate’s attempt to bribe the committee and its Chairman, Mr. Farouk Lawan.
Emenalo was testifying before Justice Angela Otakula of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Lugbe, Abuja, as the first prosecution witness in Lawan’s ongoing trial for receiving A bribe from Otedola in the discharge of the ad hoc committee’s duties in 2012.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission is prosecuting Lawan for allegedly “corruptly” collecting $500,000 out of the $3m bribe he requested from Otedola.
Lawan was accused of accepting the bribe in exchange for the removal of Otedola’s company’s name, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.
Emenalo was formerly Lawan’s co-accused before the prosecution amended the charges and turned him into a prosecution witness.
He had earlier testified on March 7, 2016, narrating how he collected the $100,000 from Otedola in $100 bills.
On Tuesday, under cross-examination by Lawan’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), supported by Mr. Olalekan Ojo and others, the witness denied some of the allegations levelled against Lawan by the prosecution, for which he was testifying.
Fielding questions from Ozekhome, the witness said he collected the $100,000 from Otedola as exhibit to prove the businessman’s move to bribe members of the committee.
He said on Otedela’s invitations, he met with the businessman on Sunday, April 22, 2012 and on Tuesday, April 24, 2012,at his home in Aso Drive, Maitama, Abuja.
According to him, during his first meeting with Otedola, they had discussions on issues including “the work of the committee and areas he (Otedola) could make suggestions.”
He denied receiving $20,000 bribe from Otedola during their first meeting.
But he confirmed that it was during the second meeting that Otedola gave him the $100,000 which he said he handed over to Lawan as exhibit.
He said, “The money I collected from Mr. Otedola was meant to be an exhibit to prove that members of the ad hoc committee were being pressurized and I informed my Chairman (Lawan) and handed over the money to him (my chairman).”
Asked to read parts of the two statements which he made to the police during the investigation of the bribery case, he restated his positions in the statements that Otedola gave the money to him as a bribe.
“I maintain my stand that the money collected from Otedola was to show that it was to bribe members of the committee,” the witness said.
His two statements,one of which was dated June 14, 2012 and the other without date, were tendered by Ozekhome and admitted as exhibits without any objection from the prosecuting counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN).
The witness confirmed that Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, belonging to Otedola, was one of the companies indicted by the ad hoc committee for obtaining foreign exchange for importation of Premium Motor Spirit under the fuel subsidy scheme but diverted it to something else.
He confirmed that Zenon got $232,975,385.13 foreign exchange but failed to use the money for fuel importation.
He said Otedola wrote a complaint letter which was submitted to the secretariat of the committee on April 18, 2012, asking for his company’s name to be removed from the list of indicted firms but that nothing could be done by the committee since by then the report had been submitted on the floor of the House.
Responding to earlier questions, the witness denied calling the then Managing Director of Zenon Petroleum, Mr. Kareem Otarum, to ask for the direction to Otedola’s house.
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