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Bribery: DSS gave me money I gave Lawan, Otedola tells court
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zenon Oil and Gas Limited, Femi Otedola has told an FCT High Court in Apo that the $620,000 he handed over to former lawmaker, Farouk Lawan, was given to him by the Department of State Security, DSS.
The business mogul stated this while being cross-examined by Lawan’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
According to Chief Otedola, the alleged bribe money was given to Lawan in a sting operation.
He told the court that the DSS, however, did not catch Lawan red-handed at the time of collecting the money from him (Otedola), as shown in a video played in the open court.
The billionaire businessman also told the court that he did not have any documentary evidence to the fact that the money was given to him by the DSS, saying that the money was given to him in bits.
He further said that he did not take down the serial numbers of the money given to him by the DSS, adding that he did not sign any document when collecting the money in bits.
Asked if the content of the envelope exchanging hands in the video could have been a letter or an invitation card, Otedola, who testified as the fifth prosecution witness, said, “Possibly, the content could have been a letter or an invitation card.”
The witness further told the court that going by the video shown in the court, Lawan did not remove his cap and stuff it with dollars.
Otedola said Lawan, a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime, demanded a bribe of $3million out of which he handed over the sum of $620,000 to him.
He told the court that he knew Phillip Akinola, who he said was the Chief Operating Officer of Zenon Oil and Gas Limited, but he was not aware that Akinola wrote a letter to Lawan, informing him that Zenon supplied petroleum to Forte Oil on carefully agreed terms.
The letter was tendered by Ozekhome as an exhibit and was admitted after argument and counter-argument on its admissibility subject to the production of receipt of payment of necessary fees at the next adjourned date.
The prosecution counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), after evidence of Otedola, informed the court that the prosecution was closing its case. The defence thereafter informed that it intended to file a no-case submission.
The trial judge, Justice Angela Otaluka has, meanwhile, adjourned the proceedings to September 24 for the adoption of addresses by parties in the no-case submission.