Dishonour Among Thieves (2) What Police Investigation Has Discovered

Posted: June 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

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*About N11b allegedly collected and shared
*The alleged complicity of House members

By Jide Ajani & Kingsley Omonobi

Dateline Force Headquarters, Abuja, the nation’s capital. Time was 3:45 in the afternoon. It was penultimate Thursday.

His arrival was much expected.  He walked into the cold, anxious, embracing hands of the Commissioner of Police in charge, Special Task Force, STF, Ali Amodu.

Hon. Lawan Farouk’s long walk to the detention cells of the Police Force Criminal Investigation Department at Area 10, Garki, started that fateful Thursday afternoon; after all of four hours and some minutes – he was marched to the detention cell at about 8pm.

Information available to Sunday Vanguard made it clear that Hon. Farouk made himself available to the Police at force headquarters, after a round of negotiations.

It was a negotiation process which a source described as “in itself very intricate and delicate”.
To avoid a dispute or disputation about representation and procedure, a lawyer accompanied Hon. Farouk.

The interrogation commenced immediately.
According to sources privy to the interrogation, “the process started on a seemingly cordial note.  But at some point, the kernel of the matter became ‘how many members of the committee helped themselves with funds from marketers? The focus also shifted to the issue of how many members of the House of Representatives got part of the money”.

Sunday Vanguard was told that the reason why focus shifted had to do with the discovery that some marketers besieged the Force Headquarters alleging as well as claiming that “they, too, had parted with huge sums of money”.

To be fair, Sunday Vanguard’s own discovery showed that whereas some of the marketers had genuine grievances against the committee, some others were only out to engage in a smear campaign.
Some of those who were sincere about their deposition to the Police authorities were said to have “gone as far as swearing to affidavits that they made payments available”.

Some of those Sunday Vanguard spoke to in the House of Representatives were aghast that members were being linked to bribe monies arising from acts committed by members of the subsidy committee. One of the members informed Sunday Vanguard that “it appears that the executive, which seems to have been wholly indicted by the report of the committee was bent on rubbishing it hence the set up and the conclusion that members collected money.

However, in sharp contrast to what the member said, Police sources informed that “part of the deal which saw Farouk honouring the Police invitation bothered on the acknowledgment by members that they would stand by Farouk”.

Police sources insisted last week that about N11billion exchanged hands. in fact, Sunday Vanguard was made to understand that part of the reasons why the $620,000 has not been produced is because the “sum of money in its exact form and shape can not be reproduced as given and collected.  The money has been shared and it is difficult to produce that money in the same form that it was collected”.

This notion was what the House sought to dispel with its session of penultimate Friday with the re-insertion of Synopsis and Zenon Oil. Some members of the House are insisting that the Police and the SSS should prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Sunday Vanguard was further told by Police sources that “while the interrogation of Farouk was going on, there was a parallel revelation session which went on and which involved some of the marketers who claimed to have been approached by committee members”.

The source further asserted that this accounted for the huge sum of money that has been discovered to be alleged payment to members of the committee and which was shared with the knowledge of some members of the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, as at the time of going to press, the money was yet to be returned to the Police by Farouk, who continues to be a guest of the Police on a daily basis.

Rep. Farouk Lawan and Oil magnate, Femi Otedola

Indeed, fresh information has come upon Sunday Vanguard which suggests that the Police itself may hit a brick wall in spite of the bold face it has put on the investigation into the matter.

It was discovered during the week that there has been no love lost in the relationship between the Police and the Department of State Service, DSS.

It was disclosed to Sunday Vanguard that efforts by the Police to get the necessary documented cash, which was supposed to be part of the $3m demanded was yet to be provided.
That is just one of the many complications in the matter.

The Police is also said to be frowning at the operational lapse by the DSS which was premised on a serial attempt to entrap Farouk.

According to a Police source, “you do not try to catch a thief twice; you only set up an operation and once he falls for it you arrest him”.

However, a DSS source maintained – as was reported last week – that the department could not have arrested Farouk the very first day he collected money from Otedola because there were other considerations on April 24, 2012.

The third leg of the argument rests on Farouk’s claim that he, too, was actually carrying out a sting operation on Otedola but wanted to play along to the end.

In fact, when on Thursday last week Farouk appeared at the National Assembly complex, many tongues began to wag.

But in an interview with journalists, Farouk, brimming with confidence said whereas this trial was from God Almighty, he was sure that at the end of the day, he would be vindicated.

For the moment, Police investigation may be stalled because of the many incongruities in the whole episode.

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