Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has requested for more time to release files containing corruption allegations against former Senator, Dino Melaye.
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) had alleged that files containing claims Melaye was operating foreign bank accounts were retrieved from the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) by the Minister.
Melaye, who represented Kogi West in the Upper Chamber, was accused of using fictitious names to run series of foreign accounts contrary to CCB regulations.
CSNAC said it wrote several letters to Malami claiming the non-release of the files was frustrating efforts to bring the lawmaker to justice.
In a statement on Sunday, the group said Malami had responded and asked for time.
“In a letter addressed to CSNAC Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, Malami requested for an extension of time to study the request for the release of the case file,” the statement said in part.
It said in the letter signed by State Counsel, Nafisat Negi Ibrahim, the Minister explained 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.”
But, according to CSNAC, 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. It’s a case that will be pursued to its logical end until the files are released and Senator Malaye brought to book.”
According to Suraju, Melaye’s trial remains one of the striking cases of alleged corruption that raises suspicions of state complicity indicating an attempt to cover up a high profile case.
The group added: “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 letter dated August 07, 2020.
It said the Ministry admitted taking over the case file by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
It added the file contained allegations that Senator Dino Melaye was operating foreign bank accounts but that the file had been taken away from the Bureau to the office of the Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice in response to the request from the Attorney-General vide a letter with reference number DPPA/REO/686/17 dated January 5, 2018.