Supreme Court quashes Abacha family’s bid to access ex-military ruler’s foreign accounts

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by the family of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, seeking an order unfreezing some bank accounts belonging to the late maximum later and other members of the family in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechenstein and Luxembourg.

The accounts were frozen in 1999 following mutual judicial assistance agreements between Nigeria and the five countries.

The pact was signed during ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

A five –man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, while delivering judgement in the appeal filed by a son of the late military ruler, Mohammed Abacha, held that the suit, which was first initiated in January 2004, had become statute-barred.

Justice Chima Nweze, who delivered the lead judgement, upheld the concurrent decisions of both the Federal High Court in Kano and the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, which had both dismissed the suit for being statute-barred.

The Federal Government had during the week signed a tripartite agreement between Nigeria, Jersey and United States to repatriate back to the country $321million traced to the late Abacha who ruled the country from November 1993 to June 1998.

Source Ripples Nigeria

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