President Mohammadu Buhari has been asked to prevail on the Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to release the file on corruption charges against a senator, Dino Melaye.
The former senator who represented Kogi West, was accused of various corrupt acts that range from operating dubious foreign accounts using fictitious names to outright disguise of public funds.
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) invoked the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act urging the justice minister to release the file in the next seven days or face legal action.
“As the president of the country, you have the responsibility to ensure equity in the campaign against corruption. The fight against corruption can never succeed when the claws of law are deployed in a discriminatory manner or used to score cheap political gains” CSNAC stated in the petition signed by the group’s Legal Officer, Rebecca David.
CSNAC is arguably Nigeria’s largest coalition of anti-corruption groups with members drawn from across the country.
The CSNAC request is a follow up to a campaign that began in December 2017 when the leading rights group wrote to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) demanding the investigation of the alleged operation of foreign bank accounts in the United States of America by Mr Melaye, while serving as a senator representing Kogi West at the National Assembly, as widely reported by the media.
In 2018, the anti-corruption group made another request on the subject matter with response from the CCB dated May 22, 2018 stating that the case had been transferred to the Federal Ministry of Justice on the request of Mr Malami.
CSNAC said that again in March 2020, it made another request that is yet to be responded to by the justice minister as at the time of this report.
The group said “Series of requests have been submitted to your office to release the file on Senator Melaye. There are serious cases of corruption leveled against him. The cases were to be prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It’s unfortunate that you ordered the transfer of the file leaving Senator Melaye with the prospect of escaping justice in the face of the weighty allegations
The CSNAC urged Mr Malami to release the file without further delay. “There are speculations that Senator Melaye is your bossom friend and that the transfer of the file on corruption cases against him was designed to give him a soft landing. You have to prove these allegations false by releasing the file without further delay,” CSNAC stated.
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