Senator Dino Melaye from Kogi State attempted to evade and scamper away from SaharaReporters’ questions on his finances and luxury car collection during Social Media Week in Lagos on Friday February 26th. Mr. Melaye briefly attended Social Media Week Friday morning to support embattled Senate President Bukola Saraki during his address to conference attendees.
Dino Melaye Runs From SaharaReporters’ Questions About His Luxury Homes, Foreign Accounts
A member of a civil society organization attending the conference argued that Mr. Melaye has been counseling Mr. Saraki on how to best leverage youth and civil society groups to support him in defeating his corruption proceedings at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Mr. Melaye has been the subject of a number of SaharaReporters exposes due to his opulent lifestyle, palatial homes donned with lavish furnishings, his luxury car collection, and his operation of an unlawful foreign bank account in violation of Nigerian law for public officials.
During an exclusive interview with SaharaTV last year, Mr. Melaye became irate when our correspondent asked why he posted photos on social media of his luxury cars and homes. Mr. Melaye denied posting those photos but could not explain to SaharaTV viewers how then ended up on his personal Twitter page.
In July, SaharaReporters published exclusive photographs of a mansion Mr. Melaye was renovating in Abuja, which he purchased for an estimated 1.3 billion naira (6.5 million dollars). When asked how he could afford such a property, since he had a modest career as an alleged activist and public servant, Mr. Melaye’s refused to answer saying only that he should not be questioned because he is “a distinguished member of the Federal government.”
It will be recalled that Mr. Melaye was one of the most vocal opponents to Stella Oduah, the former Minister of Aviation, when she was embroiled in the BMW car contract scandal in 2014. Mr. Melaye repeatedly called for her resignation because of the scandal she was associated with at the time.
SaharaReporters also obtained photographs of Mr. Melaye’s new 2015 Rolls Royce Wraith car, complete with DINO on the license plate, last November estimated to cost at least N89,563,500 ($450,000).
In December of last year, SaharaReporters exclusively obtained information on Mr. Melaye’s bank accounts domiciled in the United States, which is in violation of the code of conduct for public officials. Following a SaharaReporters investigation into these bank accounts, it was discovered that he made a $1,000 transaction in New York City to Schweiger Dermatology to remove a tattoo of his ex-wife’s name.
Yesterday, on February 26th, our SaharaReporters correspondent approached Mr. Melaye when he was interacting with the conference attendees and journalists to ask about these exposes.
Our correspondent first asked Mr. Melaye, “I was wondering if you could tell up how much money is left in your US bank accounts?” referring to the unlawful Bank of America account he had been using, most recently for the tattoo removal.
“Is there any money left behind?” our correspondent followed up. SaharaReporters had received reports that Mr. Melaye began withdrawing large sums of money immediately following our reporting on his illegal account.
Mr. Melaye attempted to avoid answering the question saying that “Please, please, please I didn’t come here for [this].”
He then began moving away from the correspondent, heading toward the exit.
Our correspondent pursued the embattled Senator, and then asked how he could afford the Rolls Royce car and his other luxury vehicles. He tried deflecting saying, “I stole it from you.” He then repeated several times, “I am not ready to speak to you, I am not ready to speak to you.”
Our correspondent reminded him that “you are a public official yet you have all these assets. Can you explain that?”
Mr. Melaye then moved faster toward the exit trying to deflect his attention with conference attendees.
Our correspondent then moved toward to exit door and changed the topic to asking “what’s the difference between accompanying the Saraki’s [to their police or legal proceedings] and challenging Stella Oduah’s legitimacy” to hold office?
Mr. Melaye then said that “you should be civil, I am not ready to speak with you.” Our correspondent followed up by asking how much longer he could go not not answering these questions?
Mr. Melaye then went deeper into the crowd to avoid our correspondent, who pursued him and continued asking about his unexplained assets and conduct.
SaharaReporters previously conducted a poll in December asking readers whether respondends thought there should be a probe by the Code of Conduct Bureau into Mr. Melaye for his unexplained assets, 94% of the 1,488 respondents on Twitter voted that he should be probed.