I did not mastermind bribery scandal – JonathanGoodluck Jonathan (2010-present), Presidency Thursday, June 14th, 2012
President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said there was no truth in widespread insinuation that his government was orchestrating the $620,000 bribery scandal involving the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on the fuel subsidy, Mr. Farouk Lawan, and an oil businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola.
Jonathan said this in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, in Abuja.
The President’s aide described the insinuation that the scandal was a ploy by Jonathan and the executive arm of government to unseat the leadership of the House as “lame, diversionary, totally false and baseless.”
Abati also told our correspondent in an exclusive interview that despite the bribery scandal, Jonathan would not stop the action he had already initiated on the implementation of the report of the committee.
The President said notwithstanding the development on the scandal, his directive to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), on the report of the probe committee, as adopted by the House, had not changed.
He said that he expected that all those indicted in the report would be duly investigated and prosecuted if a prima facie case of misconduct was established against them.
The presidential statement reads, “The Presidency denounces the lame and diversionary attempt by some newspapers to drag the person and office of the President into the very unsavoury bribery scandal involving the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Fuel Subsidy Probe Ad Hoc Committee and a well-known petroleum products marketer.
“The mischievous insinuation in today’s editions of the newspapers that the entire affair, in which the two key players have publicly confessed their roles, is part of a plot by President Goodluck Jonathan and the executive arm of government to unseat the leadership of the House of Representatives, is totally false and baseless.
“For the benefit of unwary members of the public who may be deceived by the political innuendoes now being woven into the subsidy probe bribe affair, President Jonathan wishes to affirm that he has absolutely no reason or desire to meddle in the affairs of the House of Representatives and its leadership.
“Neither the President nor anyone acting on his request or order has anything to do with the scandal that has sadly engulfed the House ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy. The attempt to drag the Presidency into the matter is entirely speculative and without factual foundation.
“Against the background of its avowed commitment to the effective prosecution of the war against corruption in Nigeria, the Presidency notes with satisfaction that given the seriousness of the scandal, the House of Representatives has already recalled its members from recess for a special session to deliberate on it tomorrow.”
The House on Wednesday sent notice out to its members to report for an emergency session on Friday (today). Though the notice sent by the Clerk of the House, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, did not specify the agenda for the session, some members had told The PUNCH that the bribery scandal would be the main subject for debate.
The fear has been expressed in some quarters that the bribery scandal currently rocking the probe panel would make Jonathan to push aside the document without proper implementation.
But Abati said such fear was unnecessary as the President had not issued any other directive to invalidate the earlier one handed down to the AGF.
He said as far as the President was concerned, both the bribery allegation and the report of the ad hoc committee were currently before security agencies who he believed would do a thorough job on both.
“When the President received the report of the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee, he made a presidential directive. Has that directive been changed?
“That directive has not been changed. Both the bribery allegation and the report are before security agencies and they will do a thorough job on both of them,” Abati said.
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