Oil magnate and a prosecution witness in the trial of a former member of the House of Representatives, Faruk Lawan, Chief Femi Otedola has told a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), that the $500,000 he offered Lawan was from the coffers of the Department of State Service ( DSS)
Lawal is standing trial before Justice Angela Otaluka of the Apo division of the court over bribery allegations.
While responding to a question by the defence’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, (SAN), Otedola said the money was given to him by the DSS after he wrote a petition against Lawan that he demanded a $3m bribe from him to exonerate his oil company from the subsidy scam.
Lawan is standing trial for bribery allegation.
Odetola, under cross-examination, explained that the $500,000 formed part payment of the $3m Lawan demanded.
He said the money was given under the supervision of the DSS.
Explaining further, the Chief Executive Officer of Zenon Oil, said he petitioned the DSS immediately Lawan demanded the bribe.
“Lawan said he was going to exonerate my company after giving him the money,” Otedola told the court.
After informing the DSS, according to him, security cameras were mounted in his living room to capture the exchange of money between him and the defendant.
Asked if he had the video of the meeting, he said it was in the possession of the DSS.
He said he gave Lawan the $500,000 in two tranches of $250,000 each.
When reminded by Chief Ozekhome, that the best time “to catch a thief is when the operation is ongoing,” Otedola said he did not know why the DSS failed to arrest Lawal at that moment.
The Justice Otaluka, adjourned till March 8 for the continuation of cross-examination of the prosecution witness.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) is prosecuting Lawan for allegedly “corruptly” collecting $500,000 out of the $3m bribe he requested from Otedola in exchange for the removal of the businessman’s company’s name from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2011