The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has petitioned the Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau, to urgently investigate and prosecute the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial district, Dino Melaye, over an alleged operation of foreign accounts whilst still an elected public official.
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 shall not maintain or operate any bank account in any country outside Nigeria”
Taking a cue from a report dated 6th of December, 2015, from an online newspaper Sahara Reporters, which revealed that Senator Melaye representing Kogi West Senatorial District has since 2010 illegally operated bank accounts in the United States, the coalition in the petition signed by its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, noted that if the report is true, then Melaye has contravened rules of conduct for elected officials.
According to the report, Senator 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 states 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 a regular savings account with account number with 4460 1647 5966 with Bank of America in the state of Maryland.
The report averred further that the lawmaker obtained a bank debit card with account number ending with 8873. One of his last transactions on the account took place on the 4th December, 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 bill on social media and public petition censorship, as he approved 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.
“Mr Melaye’s actions are gross contravention of the Coe of Conduct for public officers by virtue of 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 law making process as a mere charade.
In view of the above, CSNAC is therefore by this petition, demanding that a thorough investigation and immediate prosecution of Senator Dino Melaye, just as in the case of Senator Bukola Saraki, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal if he is found culpable. This will go a long way in reaffirming the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution, as well as, deterring other lawmakers and public officers from contravening same.”
While attaching copy of bank statement of Senator Melaye as published by SaharaReporters, the coalition stressed that it will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action to ensure the discharge of the CCB constitutional duties.