An appeal to unfreeze several accounts linked to Sani Abacha, former Head of State, in banks in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg blocked by the federal government in 1999 has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.
The court in the judgment prepared by Chima Nweze, a supreme court justice, held that the appeal which was filed in 2010 was “statute barred” ( filed out of time).
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had in December 1999 authorised Kanu Agabi, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), to ask the Swiss authorities to freeze all bank accounts operated by Abacha, his children, agents and any individual or company linked to him between 1993 and 1998.
The Obasanjo administration also asked the Swiss authorities to prosecute all holders of the accounts so as to recover funds stolen from Nigeria.
The government engaged the services of Enrico Monfrini of Hauchomann & Bottage in Geneva, Switzerland, a financial investigator, to assist in recovering the monies looted by Abacha.
Following the request, several bank accounts linked to the former head of state in Switzerland, United Kingdom, Jersey, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg were frozen.
However, the Abacha family filed a suit on January 28, 2004, marked: FHC/KN/CS/6/2004, at a federal high court in Kano, challenging the action of the federal government.