Mohammed Abacha says he cannot be tried for the offence.
The Supreme Court has fixed January 17, 2014, for judgement on a suit filed by Mohammed Abacha, challenging a 100-count charge slammed on him at the Federal Capital Territory High Court for allegedly receiving stolen money belonging to the Federal Government.
Mr. Abacha is the eldest surviving son of the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, who died in office in 1998.
Joseph Daudu, lawyer to Mr. Abacha, while arguing the appeal, told the court that since the stolen money had been returned the Federal Government treasury, it would be improper and unlawful to further prosecute his clients.
He cited Section 5 of Decree 53 of 1999, which he said forbids the
prosecution of anybody who had forfeited stolen money, from being prosecuted.
Mr. Daudu, a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, argued that the late Head of state enjoyed immunity for stashing
the money away in private foreign bank accounts so as to take care of
uncertainties associated with governance, especially the threat by some Western nations.
However, Daniel Enwelom, who represented the federal government, told the court that the late Mr. Abacha could only enjoy immunity while in office and therefore urged the court to dismiss Mr. Abacha’s appeal and uphold the earlier ruling of the Court of Appeal which said the younger Abacha could be tried for the offence.
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