A group, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has written a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking an investigation into the “alleged bribery tape” involving the lawmaker representing Kogi-West senatorial district, Senator Dino Melaye, and Justice Akoh Ikpeme.
On Tuesday, an online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, had published an audio clip in which the judge, who was handling an election petition involving Melaye and Senator Smart Adeyemi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), allegedly demanded a bribe from Melaye in dollars.
In a swift rebuttal, Melaye had, however, denied bribing the judge, adding that the voice recording was not his own.
“Sahara Reporters and ‘awada kerikeri’; using voice-over to malign me because my case with them comes up in few days’ time, June 5, 2017,” the lawmaker had said in a message on his official Twitter handle.
However, in a petition issued by its chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the group, on Thursday, urged the commission to urgently commence a high-powered investigation by a team of forensic experts into the allegation.
The petition read in part, “In the recordings which capture the telephone conversation between Justice (Mrs.) Akoh and Mr. Melaye, at two different times, the judge is overheard asking Mr. Melaye to give her a bribe in US dollars.
“She also sought Mr. Melaye’s assistance for a person he repeatedly referred to as her ‘daughter’ to secure a job at the Cross River State Ministry of Health, with the senator reassuringly bragging that he had already spoken to Governor Ben Ayade.
“It is worth noting that sometime in 2016, Justice Ikpeme dismissed a petition by Smart Adeyemi, Mr. Melaye’s opponent at the 2015 Kogi-West senatorial district election — in accordance with the plot of reaffirming the alleged electoral infractions associated with the emergence of Mr. Melaye.”
The CSNAC said in view of the gravity of the allegations, the EFCC must urgently commence a high-powered investigation by a team of forensic experts into the allegations.