Monday, 2 July 2012

Otedola Sues Tambuwal, Lawan and Others For N250bn

The $620,000 bribery scandal involving a federal legislator, Farouk Lawan and businessman, Femi Otedola, has entered a new phase with Otedola asking a court to order Lawan and three others to pay him N250bn in damages.

The suit coincides with petitions to the Inspector-General of Police by Lawan’s lawyers demanding a face-to-face confrontation between the lawmaker and the businessman.

The amount, Otedola says, will compensate him for the loss of patronage he has suffered as a result of an alleged intimidation by the National Assembly.

Listed as defendants in the suit number FCT /3839/2012 and filed on June 28, 2012 at the Abuja High Court, are Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; the National Assembly and its Clerk.

There had been a raging scandal in which Otedola, who is the Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas Limited, claimed that he paid $620,000 as bribe to Lawan, the suspended Chairman of the House Ad hoc Committee that probed the management of fuel subsidy regime in the country.

While Otedola said that he paid the bribe under pressure, Lawan claimed that he obtained the bribe in order to expose the businessman. The businessman’s company which had been removed from the list of subsidy thieves on the request of Lawan has, however, been re-listed by the House following the outbreak of the bribery scandal. Otedola, who is suing along with Zenon as the first plaintiff, said in his 28-paragraph statement of claim that the re-listing of Zenon on the list of indicted companies was an act of conspiracy.

He claimed that the alleged conspiracy by both Tambuwal and the National Assembly was calculated to embarrass him and his company.  In his statement of claim, Otedola states, “Notwithstanding the on-going Police investigations and the first defendant’s admission of receiving money from the second plaintiff, the second and fourth defendants conspired to relist the name of the first plaintiff to the list of indicted companies, to embarrass the plaintiffs and their corporate and business image.

“The plaintiffs shall contend at trial that the conspiracy by the second and fourth defendants (Tambuwal and the National Assembly respectively) to re-list the name of the first plaintiff on the list of companies indicted by the ad-hoc committee is without basis given that the committee’s finding was arrived at without proper verification of documents submitted by the plaintiffs to aid their enquiry.”


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