The Civil Society Network Against Corruption, a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to commence investigation and prosecution of the lawmaker representing Kogi West, Senator Dino Melaye, for alleged bribe of an election petition judge, Justice Akoh Ikpeme, in 2015.
According to CSNAC in a petition signed by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the coalition urged the anti-graft commission to urgently commence high-powered investigation by a team of forensic experts and investigators into these allegations to assuage the growing diffidence of the citizens in the fight against corruption.
The petition reads: “An online based newspaper, Sahara Reporters reported and published a supposed voice conversation on the 30th day of May, 2017 of how Senator Dino Melaye representing the Kogi West Senatorial District compromised Justice Akoh Ikpeme, the tribunal judge who handled his election petition case in 2015. The said report claimed that the alleged corrupt communication between the duo was captured on tape which has gone viral on social media.
“In the said recordings, which captures the telephone conversation between Justice (Mrs) Akoh and Mr. Melaye, at two different times, the judge is overheard asking Mr. Melaye to give her a bribe in US dollars. She also sought Mr. Melaye’s assistance for a person he repeatedly referred to as her ‘daughter’ secure a job at the Cross Rivers State Ministry of Health, with the Senator reassuringly bragging that he had already spoken to the State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade.
“It is worth noting that sometime in 2016, Justice Ikpeme dismissed a petition by Smart Adeyemi, Mr. Melaye’s opponent at the 2015 Kogi West Senatorial District election, in accordance with the plot of reaffirming the alleged electoral infractions associated with the emergence of Mr. Melaye, the election tribunal, in spite of the fact that only Senator Melaye retained his seat as a Senator in the state, the other two senators elected under same circumstances as Mr. Melaye were nullified by the tribunal.”
The coalition stated that in view of the gravity of the allegations viz a viz the recent allegations of bribery against the lawmaker, as evident in the voice contained in the leaked audio recordings, “we urge your Commission to urgently commence high-powered investigation by a team of forensic experts and investigators into these allegations to assuage the growing diffidence of the citizens in the fight against corruption.
“Mr. Chairman sir, the seed of corruption that has germinated into a forest of impunity, brigandage, money laundering, abuse of office, electoral fraud and violence, kidnapping and lawlessness are sowed by similar situation of politicians compromising the institution of justice and law enforcement agencies. The fight against corruption will remain deficient in the face of unbridled electoral fraud and manipulation.”