by Olanrewaju Suraj,
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), which is a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations, has urged the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), to update it with an earlier petition forwarded to the Bureau over calls for investigation of the Senator representing Kogi West senatorial district, Senator Dino Melaye, for allegedly operating a foreign bank account.
In a letter sent to the Bureau and signed by CSNAC National Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the coalition said in pursuant to Sections 1, 2 & 3 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, it is requesting for a comprehensive information on the status of CCB investigation of the aforementioned matter.
The letter reads: “In our petition dated December 7th, 2015 we called the attention of your office to a report of December 6th , 2015, by an online newspaper, SaharaReporters revealing that Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West Senatorial District has since 2010 illegally operated bank accounts in the United States of America.
“According to the report, Mr. Melaye opened two accounts, one a current and the other a savings account in the name of Daniel “Din” Melaye, posing as a student.
“The report further stated that by leaving the impression of himself as a student, Senator Melaye was able to open a “Campus Edge” current account with account number 4460 1649 8396 and regular savings account with account number with 4460 1647 5966 with Bank of America in the state of Maryland.
“He obtained a bank debit card with an account number ending with 8873. One of his last transactions on the account took place on the 4th December 6th , 2015, the same day he addressed his colleagues at the floor of the Senate, on a proposed retrogressive, repressive, anti-free speech and anti-democracy “social media bill” hinged on emasculating social media users and public petition censorship. It was an approval of payment for a transaction relating to the purchase of cosmetics from a Kremlin based MagnitKosmetik store. Also, on September 1, 2015, Mr. Melaye approved payment to a New York-based “Schweiger Dermatology.” apparently for the treatment of his skin after he removed a tattoo of his former wife Alero during an official visit to the United Nations as part a delegation led by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
CSNAC noted further that, “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 in the Fifth Schedule Part I Section 3 prohibits Public Officers from operating foreign accounts. It provides as follows:
“The President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy Governor, Ministers of the Government of the Federation and Commissioners of the Governments of the States, Members of the National Assembly and of the Houses of Assembly of the States, and such other public officers or persons as the National Assembly may by law prescribe shall not maintain or operate any bank account in any country outside Nigeria”
“Mr. Melaye’s actions are a gross contravention of the Code of Conduct for public officers under the above-mentioned constitutional provision.
“Your Bureau is empowered by the Constitution to prosecute before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, and if found guilty, the tribunal should amongst other punishments provided for under Section 18(2), impose a vacation of his seat at the Nigerian Senate.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains the ground norm, and an infraction of any of its provisions should not be treated with kids gloves in order to forestall a chaotic state of lawlessness in the country.
Lawmakers contravening the same law promulgated by the Parliament makes a mockery of the legislature and portrays the entire lawmaking process as a mere charade.”
The coalition noted that by that petition, it had demanded a thorough investigation and prosecution of Senator Dino Melaye, just as in the case of Senator Bukola Saraki, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal if found culpable.
“This will go a long way in reaffirming the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution, as well as, deter other lawmakers and public officers from contravening same. Copies of bank statement of Senator Dino Melaye, as published by Saharareporters, were attached to the petition,” CSNAC said.