Subsidy probe: Bribe collected at 4.00 am •How security operatives trailed culprit •Speaker, others watched video 2 months ago •PDP chieftains move to kill report, as EFCC keeps mum
MORE revelations have unfolded on the $3million bribe saga rocking the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the management of fuel subsidy as investigations confirmed that the first part of the bribe was paid to the affected
House of Representatives member at 4.00 a.m.
Sources in the know also confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune that the first tranch of the bribe which was the sum of $500,000 was personally collected by the affected House of Representatives member at the Maitama, Abuja home of an oil baron at 4.00 a.m.
“Contrary to a media report, the bribe money was collected in the Maitama House of the oil baron and not at the Abuja airport,” a source in the know told the Nigerian Tribune.
The source said that the balance of $2.4 million was to have been collected at the Abuja airport but that the deal did not take place after all.
It was confirmed that the said House of Representatives member had promised to visit the home of the baron at 1.00 p.m. on the fateful day but he later shifted it to 2.00 p.m. Sources said that he did not make the trip to the Maitama house until 4.00 a.m. and that he personally collected the sum of $500,000, being first part of the deal of $3million struck with the oil baron.
Sources confirmed that the oil baron did the House of Representatives member in after he had been allegedly put under intense pressure by the subsidy probe committee to pay so as to clear his name.
The oil magnate was said to have approached the State Security Service (SSS) with details of the request from a member of the ad hoc committee and he was said to have been given the money by the security outfit to trap the House of Representatives member.
According to sources, when the House of Representatives member left with the sum of $500,000, the secretary of the committee came to the House at 7.30 a.m. to collect another $120,000, taking the money in the custody of the House of Representatives member to $620,000.
It was learnt that the House of Representatives member was told that once the job was done, an emissary would arrive at the Abuja airport with the balance of $2.4 million.
Sources, however, stated that on the fateful date, the deal could not pull through when the affected House of Representatives member asked to be allowed to send someone to collect that balance at the Abuja airport.
“I am sure that the idea was to ensure that the man was also filmed at the airport but once he decided to send someone, the deal was hanged up,” a source stated.
“The oil baron felt that he was being pressured to pay money for what he did not do. He told the committee people who approached him that he utilised the forex got by his company appropriately but it appeared they wanted money from him, so he approached the security for assistance,” another source said.
It was gathered that besides the recording done by the oil magnate, the security agency also had separate recordings of the House of Representatives member who took the bribe.
It was learnt that the House of Representatives member became bitter that the balance was not paid after all.
Sources said that he had also promised to get part of the funds to the leadership of the House. When he was asked how he would do that, a source quoted him as saying in the video: “I have been a member of the House for … and I know how to do it. He wore a white khaftan while collecting the bribe.”
It was also gathered that the leadership of the House of Representatives had watched the video of the bribe taking some two months ago and that the leadership asked the affected member to drop the idea of displaying the money on the House floor because of its insights into the saga.
Meanwhile, some powerful forces are said to have moved to intervene in the unfolding bribery saga at the weekend with many of them being members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Some of them are claiming that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should be prevailed upon to step down on the probe of the House of Representatives member so as not to tarnish the image of the party.
But a source within the party also said that there is a sharp division over claims that the party should intervene as there are precedents where party members have been dealt with over corruption charges in the past.
The source mentioned the disgrace suffered by former Minister of Education, Fabian Osuji during the Olusegun Obasanjo era as well as the removal of a former Inspector General of Police, Mr Tafa Balogun as instances which the party did not intervene.