An audio tape obtained by SaharaReporters has revealed how Nigerian Senator Dino Melaye compromised Justice Akon Ikpeme, the tribunal judge who handled his election case in 2015.
In the tape, which captures a telephone conversation between Justice Akoh and Mr. Melaye, the judge is overheard asking Mr. Melaye to give her a bribe in US dollars. She also asks Mr. Melaye to assist a person Dino repeatedly referred to as her "daughter" secure a job at the Cross Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Our investigation reveals that Justice Ikpeme is married to a Cross River medical doctor. She is reportedly number 3 in the hierarchy of the Cross Rivers judiciary.
SaharaReporters could not confirm if Mrs. Ikpeme’s daughter got a job with the Cross Rivers state government, but in a second call between her and Mr. Melaye, the Senator bragged that he had already spoken to the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade.
In 2016, Justice Ikpeme dismissed a petition by Smart Adeyemi, Mr. Melaye’s opponent, in accordance to the plot to let Mr. Melaye off the hook at the election tribunal.
SaharaReporters contacted the spokesperson to the Cross Rivers state governor, Christian Ita, who said they could only locate a family member of the Ikpeme’s who was already a civil servant in the state before Prof. Ayade became the state governor in 2015.