Subsidy Probe: Video Shows Otedola Handing Over ‘parcels’ to Lawan

The Department of State Services on Tuesday presented a video evidence at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Lugbe, in which a business mogul, Mr Femi Otedola, was seen giving out two ‘parcels’ to a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr Farouq Lawan.

Justice Angela Otaruku granted the request of the prosecuting counsel, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), to play the video as the evidence of Lawan collecting the alleged bribe from Otedola.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the request was made when Awomolo led the DSS prosecutor, Mr David Ojataha, who is also the DSS Principal Officer, Technical Operations, in evidence.

The video revealing an exchange of the parcels lasted almost three minutes.

“The video I just played is that of Mr Femi Otedola and Hon. Farouq Lawan where there was an exchange of two parcels at Otedola’s house in Aso Drive, Abuja,” Awomolo said.

The DSS prosecutor, however, told the court that he was saddled with the responsibility of recording the video because of his background as an electronic and telecommunications engineer.

He told the court that he did his work diligently during the course of the investigation as an expert.

He said that though he did not participate in the arrest and detention of the defendant as that was not part of his duty, he only recorded the said video.

Ojataha added that he did not also take any statement from the defendant during the course of the investigation.

He said that he was only instructed to cover the meeting between both parties based on complaints from Otedola.

Counsel for the defendant, Mr Mike Ozekhome, while cross-examining the DSS prosecutor, said that the device used in playing the CD had no imprint of time and event in the video.

Ozekhome said that there was nothing to show that the defendant was there to receive a bribe.

He added that there was also nothing in the video to suggest that bribery was discussed because a word like ‘bribe’ was not heard in the video.

NAN reports that Lawan was a former Chairman, Committee of Petroleum Matters in the House of Representatives at the 7th National Assembly.

He chaired the committee investigating the subsidy fraud in 2012.

The committee, however, found some oil companies culpable of defrauding the Federal Government via spurious subsidy claims and Zenon Petroleum and Gas Company belonging to Otedola was fingered.

The trial judge, Otaruku, while discharging the DSS prosecutor from the witness box, ordered the prosecution counsel to bring his other witnesses to court on May 10 being the date for the next adjournment.


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