Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has requested for more time before he could release files containing corruption charges against former senator, Dino Melaye.
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption had accused Malami of scuttling the trial of the former lawmaker linked with sleaze both at home and abroad.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman CSNAC, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, Malami requested for an extension of time to study the request for the release of the case file.
Melaye, who represented Kogi West was accused of using fictitious names to run series of foreign accounts contrary to the regulations of the Code of Conduct Bureau.
In several letters written by CSNAC, the group demanded the file said to have earlier been retrieved from the CCB by Malami, thereby frustrating efforts to bring the lawmaker to justice.
In the letter signed by state counsel, Nafisat Negi Ibrahim, the minister said that in view of the nature of the request the Ministry of Justice demands an extension of time to enable it respond to the request in line
with Section 6 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
On Sunday, CSNAC said the request of the minister for more time to produce the file was “confusing”.
The group said, “We have received response from the Justice Minister. The language is similar to responses in the past. Its a case that will be pursued to its logical end until the files are released and Senator Malaye brought to book.”
Suraju said the Melaye trial remains one of the striking cases of corruption that raises suspicions of state complicity indicating an attempt to cover up a high profile case.
According the group, “The minister, who recently accused the suspended Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, of delaying investigation in a complex matter of P&ID in less than one year of investigation, will have no justification for holding a file involving a concluded investigation for almost three years.”
On 16th of May, 2018, the anti-corruption group had requested for update on the petition on the matter and got a response from the CCB dated May 22, 2018 stating the transfer of the case file on the request of the Attorney General from the Bureau to the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Again on March 13, 2020 a request for an update on the matter was submitted to CCB with another reminder in another later dated August 7, 2020.
The ministry admitted taking over the case file by Malami.
The file contained allegations that Senator Melaye was operating foreign bank accounts but that the file had been taken away from the Bureau to the office of the AG in response to the request from Malami vide a letter with reference number DPPA/REO/686/17 dated January 5, 2018.