Supreme Court dismisses Abacha family’s opinion to access ex-dictator’s accounts in Switzerland, UK

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Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an application filed by the family of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha to have access to his bank accounts in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Island of Jersey, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration had in 1999 moved to freeze all the accounts traced to the late dictator in the five countries.

In an application filed by the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), asked to freeze all accounts traced to Abacha, his family members, relatives and agents in the countries between 1993 and 1998.

The government requested the Swiss authorities to seize and detain all banking and other documents relating to the affected accounts, charge and prosecute all holders of such accounts, in order to recover all stolen monies for Nigeria.

In Friday’s proceedings, a five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Centus Nweze dismissed the appeal filed by the brother to the late head of state, Alhaji Ali Abacha.

He had applied for the family to be granted access to the accounts.

The panel held that the substantive case that led to the appeal was already statute barred as at April 2004 when it was commenced at the Federal High Court, Kaduna.

The panel recalled that a similar appeal filed on behalf of the Abacha family by one Alhaji Abba Mohammed Sani was dismissed in February last year.

The Supreme Court insisted that no fresh reason was adduced in the new application to warrant a different decision on the accounts.

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Abacha died mysteriously on June 8, 1998.

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