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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Abacha’s Son Must Face Trial Over Dad’s Loot —Supreme Court

Photo: Abacha’s Son Must Face Trial Over Dad’s Loot —Supreme Court

THE Supreme Court on Friday ordered Mohammed, son of the late military head of state, General Sani Abacha, to return to the high court to face his trial.

Mohammed has approached the apex court seeking to upturn the decision of the Court of Appeal which mandated the Federal Government to recover alleged funds looted by the late head of state.

The Federal Government had slammed a123-count charge bordering on conspiracy, receiving of stolen funds, among others, on Mohammed before an Abuja high court.

Before taking his plea at the trial court, Mohammed approached the Court of Appeal contesting the legality of his trial on the grounds that he had complied with the provisions of Forfeiture of Assets (Certain Persons) Decree No. 53 of 1999.

He had told the court through his counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), that insofar as he complied with the provisions of the said decree, no criminal or civil suit could be instituted against him.

But in its judgment, the appellate court resolved the appeal in favour of the Federal Government, saying that there was nothing in the provision of the decree which inhibits the high court from exercising its judicial power to try Abacha.

Justice Amina Augie, who read the lead judgment of the court, also held that the decree did not resolve any criminal issues sought to be determined in the high court of Abuja.

The court held further that the said Decree No.53 did not confer any immunity on Mohammed Abacha.

Delivering judgement in the appeal at the apex court, Justice Oluwakayode Ariwoola held that Mohammed should return to the trial court to take his plea and possibly plead a no-case submission, if he so wishes.

The court further held that if the late Abacha were to be alive today and had left office, he would be liable to prosecution.

It also held that the appellant was charged with offences against the state and the forfeiture order was just a punishment which could not earn him indemnity against trial.

According to the court, the immunity of the father could not work for the son and even the immunity of the father expired at his exit from office as provided by Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.

“The appellant’s father is not the one on trial. His immunity cannot extend beyond his stay in office.

“The late Abacha is not on trial, therefore, the appellant should go and face his trial. He cannot enjoy the immunity of the father.

“The April 18, 2005 judgment of the Court of Appeal is hereby upheld.

“The appeal is hereby dismissed as unmeritorious and vexatious,” the court held.

Nigerian Tribune
THE Supreme Court on Friday ordered Mohammed, son of the late military head of state, General Sani Abacha, to return to the high court to face his trial.

Mohammed has approached the apex court seeking to upturn the decision of the Court of Appeal which mandated the Federal Government to recover alleged funds looted by the late head of state.


The Federal Government had slammed a123-count charge bordering on conspiracy, receiving of stolen funds, among others, on Mohammed before an Abuja high court.

Before taking his plea at the trial court, Mohammed approached the Court of Appeal contesting the legality of his trial on the grounds that he had complied with the provisions of Forfeiture of Assets (Certain Persons) Decree No. 53 of 1999.

He had told the court through his counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), that insofar as he complied with the provisions of the said decree, no criminal or civil suit could be instituted against him.

But in its judgment, the appellate court resolved the appeal in favour of the Federal Government, saying that there was nothing in the provision of the decree which inhibits the high court from exercising its judicial power to try Abacha.

Justice Amina Augie, who read the lead judgment of the court, also held that the decree did not resolve any criminal issues sought to be determined in the high court of Abuja.

The court held further that the said Decree No.53 did not confer any immunity on Mohammed Abacha.

Delivering judgement in the appeal at the apex court, Justice Oluwakayode Ariwoola held that Mohammed should return to the trial court to take his plea and possibly plead a no-case submission, if he so wishes.

The court further held that if the late Abacha were to be alive today and had left office, he would be liable to prosecution.

It also held that the appellant was charged with offences against the state and the forfeiture order was just a punishment which could not earn him indemnity against trial.

According to the court, the immunity of the father could not work for the son and even the immunity of the father expired at his exit from office as provided by Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.

“The appellant’s father is not the one on trial. His immunity cannot extend beyond his stay in office.

“The late Abacha is not on trial, therefore, the appellant should go and face his trial. He cannot enjoy the immunity of the father.

“The April 18, 2005 judgment of the Court of Appeal is hereby upheld.

“The appeal is hereby dismissed as unmeritorious and vexatious,” the court held.

Nigerian Tribune

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