Fuel subsidy bribe: Otedola sues Tambuwal, Farouk Lawan for N250bn


bribery saga that rocked the probe of the fuel subsidy payments to oil
marketers has finally taken another dimension as Lagos-based multi-billionaire
oil magnate, Femi Otedola, has sued the Speaker, House of Representatives,
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and former chairman of the House ad -hoc committee on
the probe, Hon. Lawan Farouk, for N250 billion.

In the suit filed before an Abuja High
Court by his counsel, Chief Babajide Koku [SAN], the business mogul is claiming
the amount as compensation for business losses he suffered by the actions of
the two defendants.

In the suit filed by Chief Koku, the
Zenon Oil boss is claiming N100 billion as general damages for acts of
intimidation, loss of good-will and patronage occasioned by the actions of the
Speaker and Lawan. Otedoloa who filed the action with his Zenon Petroleum and
Gas Company, is further claiming N150 billion against the defendants as exemplary
damages for their alleged oppressive and arbitrary actions against him and his
He averred in his 28-point statement
of claim that by resolution of January 8 this year, the House set up an ad-hoc
committee to verify and determine the actual subsidy amount made to oil
companies and to also monitor the implementation of the subsidy.
Besides, he claimed that Lawan later
allegedly contacted and informed that his company was going to be indicted for
purchasing foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) without
importing fuel. The businessman said that in spite of his explanations, Lawan
allegedly demanded $3million bribe to enable Zenon Oil get a clean bill of
He said that Lawan resorted to
persistent phone calls threatening him that his company would be included in
the list of indicted oil importers and that the image and reputations of Zenon
Oil would be greatly affected unless he pays the $3million. Faced with the
unrelenting barrage of intimidating phone calls, the plaintiff claimed that he
became distressed and reported the unlawful demands to the security agencies.
He said that he was advised by
security agents to play along by giving marked money to Lawan with a view to
gather evidence for the nefarious activities. Otedola alleged that the
situation got to the peak on April 18 when the fuel subsidy probe report was
submitted indicting Zenon Oil.
The plaintiff said that in spite of
the on-going police investigation, the Speaker and Hon. Lawan have allegedly
conspired to re-list his firm among the indicted companies to embarrass him and
his business corporate image. He claimed that the purpose of re-listing Zenon
Oil was to force and intimidate him to drop his complaints against Lawan.
Otedola asked the court to award him
N250billion for the grave injuries done to his reputation and business image
resulting in the substantial loss of goodwill and patronage of the business
built over the years. However, Hon Tambuwal and Lawan have filed an objection
to hearing of the suit by an Abuja High Court, claiming that it is only the
Federal High Court that can adjudicate over such a matter.
The objection was filed by Mr.Kehinde
Ogunuwuniju from the chambers of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN). Justice Peter
Kekemeke of the Abuja high Court has, however, adjourned the case till November


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