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Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal By Sani Abacha’s Family To Stop FG From Re-Opening Proceedings On Criminal Forfeiture


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An appeal brought before the Supreme Court seeking to stop the federal government from re-opening the criminal forfeiture proceedings against a former Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha, and some members of his family have been dismissed.

Naija News reports that the Supreme Court on Friday threw out the case filed by members of the family of the late Sani Abacha to stop the re-opening of proceedings over their alleged complicity in the looting of the nation’s treasury during Abacha’s administration.

It was gathered that in the Court’s unanimous judgement read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court held that the concurrent findings of facts and the matter are unassailable.

The Court based on that consequently dismissed the appeal and ordered the parties to bare the cost of the legal action.

Naija News recalls that a five-member panel of the apex court scheduled judgment for January 13, 2023, after lawyers to parties, including Dr Reuben Atabo (SAN), for the Abacha family, made their final submissions and adopted their briefs.

Listed as respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Inspector General of Police (IGP), DCP P. Y. Hana (Chairman, Special Investigation Panel), the National Security Adviser (NSS) and Magistrate Sonja Nachbaur (of the Principality of Liechtenstein).

The appeal is against the July 25, 2013 judgment by the Court of Appeal, Kaduna, which affirmed the judgment given by the Federal High Court in Kaduna on June 26, 2009, rejecting a suit by the Abacha family, on the grounds of lack of locus standi (the legal capacity to approach the court on the subject matter of the suit).

Former President Olusegun Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in 1999 made a criminal allegation of misappropriation of funds against the late Abacha, members of his family and some companies linked with them.

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Premised on that allegations, the then AGF, acting for the Federal Government, made a request to the government of the Principality of Liechtenstein for mutual assistance and to initiate criminal proceedings of forfeiture against members of the Abacha family and companies in which they have interests.