Chairman, Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Adams Jagaba on Thursday recalled his encounter with embattled former Chairman of the House Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel subsidy, Farouk Lawan before the investigating police team, saying Lawan lost his voice when he (Jagaba) confronted him over the controversial bribe money.
According to him, all Lawan has been saying concerning his (Jagaba) involvement in the bribe saga were all lies, and that it was confirmed during the face to face confrontation between them at the police station where Lawan could not repeat the allegation that he (Jagaba) was involved in any way in the bribe issue.
He therefore threatened to sue Lawan if he continues to mention his (jagaba) name in the scandal with a view to escape justice.
Relieving his experience about the scandal at a press conference on Thursday, Jagaba insisted that it will amount to mischief at its peak for Lawan to continue mentioning his name, (Jagaba) in the scandal, considering the fact that he has confronted Lawan at the police station over the matter with Lawan unable to repeat the accusation before him (Jagaba).
Explaining reasons for the briefing, the Narcotic committee chairman said that he chose to come out in the open after his encounter with the police to clear all doubts, which is threatening his integrity in the wake of the allegations raised by Lawan.
Jagaba who was at the centre of the laying of the N4.5million bribe money in 2001 as the then Chairman, Committee on Anti-corruption, insisted that he has done much to maintain his integrity just as he maintained that “I cannot and shall never be involved in an individualistic act that runs unethical to national interest”.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding the alleged letter written to him by Lawan to intimate him of the alleged offer of bribe to him by Femi Otedola, Jagaba insisted that the claim by Lawan was all lies as he (Jagaba) saw the purported letter for the first time on the pages of newspaper.
“Farouk Lawan alleged that he wrote a letter to me attaching $500,000. That is callously untrue and in fact, calculated to smear my hard-earned reputation, a reputation I painstakingly built since 1999. I never received any letter, or money, or any other exhibit from Farouk Lawan.
“I saw for the first time the purported letter on a page of the Leadership Newspaper, page 6 of 14th June, 2012; and the closest copy which I saw and touched, was the copy he presented to the Police Special Task Force (STF) investigating the bribery scandal, when I went there on 10th July, 2012.
“I was invited by the Police STF while in South Africa attending the Common Wealth Parliamentary Association (Africa Region) Summit. When I returned to Nigeria, I went to the Police Force Headquarters on the 10th July 2012 at about 11:00 am to give my own side of the story on the bribery scandal investigation and I spent precisely 2 hours with them”.
“On the 11th July, 2012, the police STF graciously arranged for a meeting between Hon. Farouk Lawan and myself between the hours of 3 and 4 pm. Farouk in his remarks, stated that he reported the matter to me because of my position as the Chairman, House Committee on Drugs, Narcotic and Financial Crimes and not because I was involved in the bribery saga.
“He also told the police that he involved me in the matter because he thinks that that would enhance his case in court. We faced each other before the Police STF. I then put the question; “Hon Farouk, did you give me $500,000 or any money for that matter? This was a question the outspoken Farouk could not answer. He kept mum till I left.”
Besides, Jagaba said he told the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges that invited him over the same issue on Thursday that he was neither in possession of the money nor any knowledge of such transactions, saying ” I am not in custody of any money or any other exhibit given to me by Farouk or any other person,”
He also gave details of the letter written to him by Lawan, saying, “It was dated 24/4/2012 and has a time of 03:47am on it, saying “Is it the normal practice to indicate time on an official letter?
“The same time of 03:47am on the top-right of the letter (indicating that he started writing at that time) also appeared on the bottom-right of the letter (indicating that he ended his letter at 03:47am). Is it humanly possible to write a two-paged letter within or in less than one-second? -
“The purported letter was addressed thus: The Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, House of Representatives. Observation: Hon. Farouk Lawan, as a 4th-termer in the House of Representatives should have been more familiar with the appropriate name of my committee which is
“On the second paragraph of the purported letter, Farouk Lawan stated that “attached is the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars only…” Question: Is it practically possible to attach money of the that quantity to a sheet of paper? Except if there exists a “Five-Hundred thousand Dollar Bill”
“Still, on the second paragraph, that “…with another promise of Two Hundred Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars”. Observation: The total amount of bribe allegedly demanded is only $3 Million; but here is a Farouk quoting a balance of a whooping $200.5m (Two hundred million, five hundred thousand dollars) after collecting $500,000. The mathematics just did not add-up here!
“The purported letter was written on a clean sheet of paper. Observation: An official letter written about an issue of this magnitude should have, in my opinion, appeared on the official Letter Headed Paper of the ad hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Investigation or at least, Hon. Farouk Lawan’s Letter Headed Paper,
“There was no acknowledgement of receipt of the letter purportedly
written to my office. Observation: Forget that the letter was hand-written (because it was), but it should have carried the stamp and/or signature of receipt and date received.
“But there was no where on the entire letter, both the copy presented to the Police 5TF and the copy published on page 6 of the Leadership Newspaper of 14th June 2012 that acknowledgement of receipt of the letter appeared.
“I saw the purported letter for the first time on the page 6 of the Leadership Newspaper of 14th June 2012. The said letter was never delivered to my office and hence was never received by my office neither here in the National Assembly nor in my constituency office or delivered to me Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba hand-to-hand”.
To sum up the reason for the letter option by Lawan, Jagaba positted that the embattled lawmaker was rather rattled by the revelation of the bribery scandal.
“Hence, in his confused and highly tensed state, picked up his pen and paper at an un-godly hour of 03:47am, wrote a letter (or so he claimed), as an after¬thought, to the effect that he forgot to deliver the letter to the intended recipient, but rather chose to give it to a newspaper reporter and the Police Special Task Force (STF).
“Again, it will be recalled that Hon. Farouk Lawal initially denied ever demanding and collecting any bribe but later owned up that he actually took the bribe money as an “exhibit”.
While maintaining his position that he was never in possession of the money or any other exhibits in his personal or official capacity, Jagaba emphasized that Lawan should produce an authentic acknowledged copy of the letter he wrote, informing him of the bribery transactions, to prove the allegaton.
“Until and unless Hon. Farouk Lawan produces an authentic acknowledged copy of his letter, he should stop placating my name and dragging it in the mud.
“It will be recalled that I displayed the sum of N4,500,000 bribe money on the floor of the House in 2001 when I was the Committee Chairman on Anti-Corruption. I did that as an act of patriotism, an act that truly laid the foundation for the War Against Corruption in Nigeria.
“I cannot and shall never be involved in an individualistic act that runs antithetical to national interest.
“Farouk Lawan should stop this blackmail forthwith or else, I will have no option than take the appropriate legal action against him and to seek compensation befitting my status. Enough is enough”.
Source: Daily Independent