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Supreme Court Dismisses Abacha’s Family Appeal Seeking Access To Looted Funds

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The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed by the family of the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, seeking access to looted funds stashed in Switzerland and other foreign banks.

Supreme Court Dismisses Abacha’s Family Appeal Seeking Access To Looted Funds 3

The suit filed by son of the late military ruler, Ali Abacha, was dismissed on Friday by a five-man panel led by Sylvester Ngwuta for lacking in merit.

Juctice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who prepared the lead judgment, held that Ali Abacha’s case was not different from that of his brother, Abba Mohammed Sani, which was also dismissed by the apex court on February 7, 2020.

“It is pertinent to state at this juncture that a case with the same facts and issues was decided recently by this court in SC.68/2010 Alhaji Abba Mohammed Sani Vs the President of the federal republic of Nigeria and the attorney-general of the federation,” she held.

“Judgment was delivered on February 7, 2020. It is now reported in (2020) 2-3 SC (Pt. II). Although the appellants are different, the facts and issues in contention are the same. Both had their bank accounts in Switzerland and other countries frozen as a result of the authorisation given to the Swiss law firm by the respondents.

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“In the earlier case, the contention was also that the respondents acted outside the scope of their duties under a repealed law and were therefore not entitled to seek refuge under section 2(a) of the Public Officer Protection Act.”

Kekere-Ekun held that having been filed outside the three-month period within which the cause of action arose, the suit had become statute-barred.

“It is not in dispute that the suit before the trial court was filed outside the three months stipulated in section 2(a) of the Act,” she said.

“The only issue to be considered was whether, in the circumstances, the action was maintainable. The suit was in no doubt statute-barred and rightly struck out by the lower court.

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“Incidentally, R.O Atabo also represented the appellant in Sani Vs the President & another.

“He has not advanced any superior argument to warrant a departure from our decision in that case. This issue is resolved against the appellant. In conclusion, I find this appeal to be devoid of merit. It is hereby dismissed.”

KanyiDaily recalls that the Federal Government had signed a tripartite agreement between Nigeria, Jersey and United States to repatriate back to the country $321million traced to the late Abacha.

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