Home NEWS CRIME Nigeria Beats A Retreat, Withdraws N446.3 Billion Theft Charges Against Mohammed Abacha

Nigeria Beats A Retreat, Withdraws N446.3 Billion Theft Charges Against Mohammed Abacha

Bello Adoke

Nigeria government has withdrawn the N446.3 Billion theft charges instituted against the eldest son of the late General Sani Abacha, the Military Head of State, Mohammed Abacha. The government had slammed Mohammed Abacha with nine counts theft charges in February this year.

The government, through the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, on Wednesday, accused Mohammed Abacha of unlawfully receiving about N446.3 billion allegedly stolen from government’s coffers between 1995 and 1998.

But the Attorney-General, acting for the Federal Government, today, asked Justice Mamman Kolo of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, to withraw the suit on the grounds of “fresh facts” that just emerged concerning the case.

Efforts to arraign Abacha on two previous occasions were unsuccessful because of his repeated absence from court. But he was present in court on Wednesday when the private prosecuting counsel, Mr. Daniel Enwelum, informed the court of Adoke’s instruction to discontinue the case.

Applying to court for the withdrawal of the case, Enwelum said: “I have been instructed by the AGF and Minister of Justice to withdraw the charges as presently filed before this court, because there are fresh facts and documents available to him.

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“In this circumstance, he instructed me to file a notice of withdrawal without prejudice to future cause of action to be taken by his (AGF’s) office. In the light of that, I have filed a notice of withdrawal dated June 17, 2014. I humbly apply to withdraw the charges accordingly.”

Abacha’s lawyer,  Abdullahi Haruna, did not oppose the application for withdrawal.

Justice Kolo subsequently, in a ruling on the application, made an order striking out the charges against the accused person.

In the nine counts, the Federal Government accused Abacha of “dishonestly receiving stolen property” and “voluntarily assisted in concealing money.”

The charge replaced a previous one of 121 counts, in which Mohammed was charged with Atiku Bagudu. The government excluded Bagudu from the fresh charge, leaving only Mohammed.

According to the new charge, marked “CR.21-24/2008,” the stolen money allegedly received by Mohammed Abacha, which he allegedly concealed, included N141,100,000 and $384,353,000 made up of cash and travellers cheques. [myad]

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