Finally, Abacha’s family loses hope on loot

The possibilities of unfreezing the accounts of looted funds traced to the late military President Sani Abacha have finally been put to rest at the Supreme Court, on Friday.

A brother to Abacha had been pushing the case right from 2004 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo made the legal effort that froze the accounts in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.

The judgement then delivered by Justice Mohammed Liman favoured the Abachas—until the appeal court set it aside in 2010.

But in a unanimous judgment of a five-man panel led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the apex court held that Ali Abacha’s case was statute-barred as at when it was commenced in April 2004 at the Federal High Court in Kaduna State.

In the lead judgment prepared by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, but read on Friday by Justice Ejembi Eko, the court held that having dismissed a similar appeal in an earlier judgment given in February last year, it has no reason to change its decision.

The court said it noticed that the appellant in this appeal is represented by R. O. Atabo Esq, who, incidentally, was the appellant’s counsel in the earlier appeal.

“No new superior arguments were proferred here to warrant a departure from the decision in the case of Alhaji Sani, earlier decided. This appeal fails, and it is hereby dismissed. Parties to bear their costs”, the apex court said.

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