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I did’nt force Lawan to receive $500,000 bribe, he demanded it, Otedola tells court



I did'nt force Lawan to receive $500,000 bribe, he demanded it, Otedola tells court

The witness in the lingering fraud case involving a former member of House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan denied persuading the lawmaker into receiving a $500,000 bribe.

Femi Otedola, the founder of Zenon, witnessed before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja on Wednesday.

The businessman had his company name removed from the list of indicted oil companies allegedly involved in fuel subsidy fraud during Goodluck jonathan led administration.

Otedola was allegedly pressured by Mr Lawan to part with a $3 million out of which an initial deposit of $500,000 was paid into his account in April 2012.

Otedola, when called into the witness box by the Prosecuting counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo narrated how the accused had indicted his company in the alleged fraud and demanded $3 million to exonerate him.

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“After the early hours of 24th April 2012: (the time the money was paid) he left and removed the name of Zenon from the list of indicted companies.”

Asked about the claim by Lawan that he (Otedola) had forced him to take the money, the businessman denied.

“I could not have put pressure on him because Zenon Oil was not involved in the theft of the subsidy fund.

“He did demand. And if he did not demand, why will he collect and expect a balance of $2.5 million? He mentioned to me that the $3 million will be shared by himself and some other members of the House,” Mr Otedola said.

“Moreover, the company in question was not involved in the importation of petroleum motor spirit (PMS) and as such never applied to withdraw from the petroleum fund.”

He continued, “I did not offer any $3 million, because I was one of the biggest players in the business. And I reported the matter initially when I found out about the scam. And he mentioned to me that several companies that were involved in the scam were paying. And I reported to the SSS.”

Meanwhile, the judge, Angela Otaluka, adjourned the matter to January 28 for cross-examination.

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