Nigerian lawmaker who led graft probe quizzed over bribe
6/15/2012 12:40:01 PM -
LAGOS (AFP) - Nigerian police Friday questioned a lawmaker who led an explosive probe into a graft-ridden fuel subsidy programme after allegations emerged that he took a bribe from an industry magnate.
The questioning of Farouk Lawan marked a dramatic turn in the saga surrounding the fuel subsidy probe, which implicated high-profile businessmen and found that $6.8 billion (5.3 billion euros) was lost from 2009 to 2011.
"Honourable Farouk Lawan came to us yesterday and he is still with us as he is being interrogated over an alleged bribery," police spokesman Frank Mba told AFP.
"He will remain in our custody until we are through with our investigation."
Lawan was chairman of a House of Representatives committee that investigated the fuel subsidy programme, which was designed to keep petrol prices low in Africa's biggest oil producer but was found to be riddled with corruption and mismanagement.
He was questioned by police after Femi Otedola, owner of Zenon Petroleum and Forte Oil, reportedly alleged that the outspoken lawmaker had collected $620,000 from him in order to exonerate his companies from the scandal.
The bribery probe has raised questions over the investigation into the fuel subsidies -- and some have speculated over whether powerful interests in Nigeria, where corruption is widespread, are seeking to smear Lawan.
However, video recordings were allegedly made of Lawan's visits to Otedola, local media has reported.