Supreme Court rules against family’s bid to access Abacha’s foreign accounts

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The Supreme Court has ruled against an appeal by the family of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, for an order to unfreeze some bank accounts of the late dictator and other members of the family in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechenstein and Luxembourg.

The accounts were frozen in the countries following mutual judicial assistance agreements with the Nigerian government during the administration of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.

Delivering judgement in the appeal filed by a son of the late dictator, Mohammed Abacha, a five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, unanimously held that the suit, which was first initiated before the Federal High Court in Kano in January 2004, had become statute-barred.

In the lead judgment by Justice Chima Nweze, the apex affirmed the concurrent decisions of both the Federal High Court in Kano and the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, which had both dismissed the suit for being statute-barred.

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