An anti-corruption coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately invite and investigate the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, over what it termed excessively flamboyant and opulent lifestyle of the lawmaker.
According to the petition sent to the anti-graft commission and signed by CSNAC‘s chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the group said the EFCC should invoke its powers under Section 6(h) of the Act that sets it up and probe the embarrassing display of opulence by Melaye.
The petition reads: “In its report of July 31st 2015, Saharareporters, an online newspaper, reported that Senator Dino Melaye purchased a home in Abuja estimated at a whopping 1.3 billion Naira (6.5 million US dollars). The said property which is located at 11 Sangha Street, off Mississippi Street, in the Maitama upscale neighborhood of the city, boasts leafy trees, ornate Roman-style columns, and decadent chandeliers hanging from its high ceilings. According to the report, the property is currently undergoing some renovations with an indoor swimming pool.”
CSNAC said the report further reiterated its earlier report of Senator Melaye’s gloating on social media about his wealth and luxury toys, which included imported sports cars, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and even novelty champagne branded with his face on the bottle. He had also previously told SaharaTV that he made N1.4m from his first month of holding public office.
“When asked by a SaharaReporters correspondent about his source of money for the payment of his luxurious house, the only response offered was, “I am a distinguished member of the Federal government.” When further prodded by the correspondent that his assets were a matter of public interest, the question was ignored.
“This is also coupled with the fact that Senator Melaye’s consistent presence on the entourage of Toyin Saraki (wife of Senate President Bukola Saraki) as she faced corruption investigations at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has continued to arouse the curiosity of right thinking Nigerians.
“It is trite that the Commission is empowered by the provision of Section 7(1) (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 which states as follows:
The Commission has power to-
“Cause investigations to be conducted into the properties of any person if it appears to the Commission that the person’s lifestyle and extent of the properties are not justified by his source of income.”
The group said that the excessively flamboyant and opulent lifestyle of Senator Dino Melaye, who is a public officer, calls for serious questioning and investigation. “As a public officer, his assets are a matter of public interest. His public obscene display of wealth not supported by any other known means of livelihood is not justified by the allowances of a public officer.
“Therefore, he should be made to justify these rapacious and brazen accumulation to the EFCC. With the prevailing rate of crimes and criminality, involving highly placed personalities and political office holders, no person or individual should be considered sacred.
“CSNAC is therefore by this petition requesting the Commission to invoke its powers under Section 6(h) of the aforementioned Act:
The Commission shall be responsible for –
“The examination and investigation of all reported cases of economic and Financial Crimes with a view to identifying individuals, corporate bodies or groups involved.”
“And launch an investigation into this matter by inviting Senator Dino Melaye to give a detailed explanation into the source(s) of income utilised in the finance and acquisition of his various expensive assets. More importantly, to clear any form of speculation that his assets might have been acquired through activities in contravention of any financial law(s) in Nigeria,” the petition reads.