Audio tape relays Otedola, Lawan $2.5m bribe deal Audio tape relays Otedola, Lawan $2.5m bribe deal

A twist emerged yesterday in the $620,000 cash-for-clearance  scandal involving a lawmaker, Farouk Lawan, and businessman Femi Otedola.
A Lagos television station aired what it described as a purported conversation between the former chairman of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee, which probed the fuel subsidy fraud, and Femi Otedola, chairman of diesel retail giant Zenon Oil.
The businessman said the lawmaker demanded $3million from him to facilitate the removal of his company’s name from the list of the firms indicted in the misappropriation of subsidy cash.
He said he paid the $620,000 in three tranches in a sting operation involving the State Security Service (SSS). The dollar bills given to Lawan, he said, were marked.
Lawan confessed to collecting the cash, saying he did so to prove that Otedola pressurised him.
He also said he informed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) informally that he deposited the cash with the chairman of the House Committee on Narcotics, Drugs and financial crimes, Hon. Adam Jagaba, who said the money is not with him.
In the 81-second audio, two men are heard discussing how some money will change hands between them.
One appears to be on an aircraft, about to travel to a destination he reveals as China. Their conversation centres on how the “balance of $2.5 million” will be passed from one person to the other.
The other gives the phone number of an aide (08036513355) he named as “TJ” to the first, asking him to give the said money to the intermediary.
He said he would be “busy in the chambers” by the time the other person’s messengers arrive with the money.
The conversation appears to be cut midway when the person at one end mentions the amount and the other says: “Just hold on, just hold on.”
Here are the details of the conversation, as aired by Channels, which disclosed no source of the tape:
Lawan: Oh, you would take it to your house?
Otedola: No. I don’t want to bring it to my house. It is a lot of money
Lawan: Ha… so where? Because I’m hastening to the… you are at the airport now?
Otedola:   Yes… at the airport; in the aircraft
Lawan: Well I can’t come over now and before they can come over now unless I send somebody to the airport but I can’t leave by the time they come. I should be in the chambers. I have a lot of things to do myself
Otedola: Is there anybody you think I can give it to or maybe I should just…or maybe I should postpone my China trip till tomorrow?
Lawan: No, no it’s ok. I will arrange it with someone. Let me give you his number
Otedola: Ok
Lawan: Yeah. The number is 080…
Otedola: hold on hold on hold on. 080…
Lawan: 08036513355 (Otedola repeats after Lawan)
Otedola: What’s the name?
Lawan: Yeah…TJ
Otedola: Sorry?
Lawan: ah… TJ
Otedola: Ateezay?
Lawan: No… TJ!
Otedola: Teezay?
Lawan: TJ…T…J
Otedola: Okay. So I will give him the balance; that is em… 2.5 million dollars, yea?
Lawan: That’s right. Hold on. Just hold on, just hold on. I’m calling him to be sure his phone is on…
Otedola: Where will I meet him?
Lawan:  Just hold on… hold on. Don’t quick send.


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