FG withdraws N446.3bn theft charges against Mohammed Abacha

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, on Wednesday withdrew the N446.3bn theft charges instituted against Mohammed Abacha, a son of a former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha.

The Federal Government had preferred the nine counts of stealing against Abacha in February 2014.

The prosecution accused Abacha of unlawfully receiving about N446.3bn allegedly stolen from government’s coffers between 1995 and 1998.

But Adoke, acting for the Federal Government, on Wednesday, asked Justice Mamman Kolo of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, to strike out the charges 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.

“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 has now 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 Abacha, which he was accused of concealing included 141,100,000 and $384,353,000 made up of cash and travellers cheques.

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