June 18, 2014
Acting on the orders of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian attorney general ‘s office this morning withdrew charges of corruption filed against Mohammed Abacha, the son of late former head of state, General Sani Abacha, over allegation of corruptly receiving N100.38bn worth of stolen property.
On February 18 2014, the Attorney General of the Federation had filed a 121-count charge (and subsequently an amended nine-count charge) against Abacha, on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria.
However, counsel to the federal government, Mr. Daniel Enwelum — who had been employed to pursue the case to its conclusion—made a U-turn, he orally applied on Wednesday requesting the withdrawal of the criminal charges against the accused person.
Justice Mamman Kolo of the FCT High Court had no option but to discharge Mr. Abacha, after granting the application for discontinuation of trial. Abdullahi Haruna, the defence counsel to Mr. Abacha, gladly supported the application.
Hearing on the matter resumed on Wednesday in the hope the court would take further steps towards establishing the culpability of the Mr. Abacha, but the Federal Government counsel told the court that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke had mandated him to withdraw the charges due to “emerging facts and circumstances of the case”.
On April 11 2014, the Federal Government filed an amended nine-count charge against Mohammed Abacha for “unlawfully taking possession of approximately N446.3bn stolen from government’s treasury between 1995 and 1998”.
Filed by Enwelum upon a fiat dated by Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, the government accused Mohammed of “dishonestly receiving stolen property” and “voluntarily assisting in concealing money.”
This fresh charge substituted an earlier 121-count filed against Mohammed and Atiku Bagudu — the late ruler’s ally. However, Bagudu was excluded from the fresh charge.
According to the new charge, dated 24th March 2014, Mohammed hid £141,100,000 $384,353,000 in cash and travellers’ cheques.
Mohammed, in Count One, was alleged to have dishonestly received between August and December 1995 in Abuja, $36,480,000.00 made up of cash and travelers’ cheques — property of the Federal Government — believed to have been stolen.
In Count Two, he was alleged, between August and December 1995 in Abuja, to have voluntarily assisted in concealing $57,960,000.00 believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government.
In another count, he was accused of receiving $26,913,500.00 believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government, between October and December 1996.
He was also accused, within the same time, of voluntarily assisting in concealing $26,913,500.00 allegedly stolen from the Federal Government. Also in June 1997 in Abuja, he allegedly dishonestly received $10,000,000.00 believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government.
Count Six accused him of dishonestly receiving, between February and December 1997, $87,000,000 and £41,143,000 believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government.
Two other counts accused Mohammed of voluntarily assisting in concealing the amounts mentioned in count six, and dishonestly receiving (between January and August 1998), $167,000,000 and £99,957,000 believed to have been stolen from the Federal Government.
The alleged offences are punishable under sections 317 and 319 of the Penal Code.