Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Femi Otedola, yesterday stunned members of the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges when he refused to speak to the committee behind closed doors as he appeared before it in furtherance of the $620,000 bribery allegation against Hon. Farouk Lawan, former Chairman of the House adhoc committee probing the oil subsidy regime.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Gambo Musa who briefed newsmen after about an hour with Mr. Otedola confirmed that he refused to talk to members of the committee.
According to Gambo , Otedola also refused to respond to numerous questions put to him regarding the bribery allegation.
Hon Gambo who could not hide his anger told newsmen that the attitude of Mr. Femi Otedola would not deter the committee from carrying out its assignment of unravelling the circumstances that to led to the bribery allegation.
The Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas Limited, arrived for the committee’s investigation at exactly 1.50pm with 10 aides including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and kept smiling during the preliminary interactions.
However, when the Chairman of the Committee told newsmen to leave the committee room after a brief remarks, one of Otedola’s aides released a statement by his boss, indicating that he was not willing to talk unless the investigation was conducted in public.
The statement dated July 3rd, 2012 reads in part, “this is a matter that has generated a lot of public interest and controversy, the House of Representatives Committee on the Management of Fuel Subsidy headed by Hon. Farouk Lawan held its sittings in public”.
“When this issue arose, the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges publicly stated that its investigations would be held in public. It is ‘therefore, surprising and curious that this committee has made a u-turn to hold its investigative sittings in camera particularly in the light of unfolding events.
“I strongly believe that the interest of the public will not be served if this investigation is held in camera.”I have nothing to hide and will only speak on this issue when this investigation is conducted in a very transparent manner and the press as well as the general public are allowed to be present at the sittings of this committee from the beginning of its investigation to its conclusion,” the statement added.
Hon. Farouk Lawan who Otedola accused of collecting the sum of $620,000 out of the sum of $3 million he demanded to remove Zenon Oil and Gas Limited from the list of companies indicted in the fuel subsidy fraud was last week grilled for four hours by the Ethics and Privileges Committee behind closed doors.