Muhammed Abacha’s ill-health stalls trial

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Ade­lanwa Bamg­boye

The trial of Mo­hammed Abacha, the el­dest sur­viv­ing son of the late Head of State Gen. Sani Abacha was yes­ter­day stalled due to ill-health.

At the re­sumed hear­ing of the case, coun­sel to Abacha, Reuben Atabo, ten­dered a med­i­cal re­port in sup­port of his oral ap­pli­ca­tion for ad­journ­ment.

The court was in­formed that Abacha took ill about four days ago and he was rushed to a hospi­tal, where he was di­ag­nosed to have high blood pres­sure and se­vere chest pain.

Reuben Atabo urged the court to fix a date to en­able his client re­cu­per­ate and at­tend his trial.

How­ever, coun­sel to the Federal Govern­ment Daniel En­welum, said that, he would reluc­tantly con­cede to the oral ap­pli­ca­tion for ad­journ­ment since it was a med­i­cal is­sue.

The trial judge sub­se­quently ad­journed the case to June 18, for trial.

At the last hear­ing of the case, Abacha’s coun­sel, Ab­dul­lahi Haruna, had told the court that he got to know about the ar­raign­ment ‘ by ac­ci­dent’, be­fore the case was ad­journed fixed for yes­ter­day (April 29) for ar­raign­ment.

Mo­hammed Abacha was ar­raigned over a decade ago be­fore the FCT High Court on a 123 crim­i­nal count charge, but be­fore his plea was taken, he went on ap­peal.

Mo­hammed Abacha had at­tempted to foil his trial but was un­suc­cess­ful at the trial court be­fore he pro­ceeded to the Court of Ap­peal and fi­nally to the Supreme Court where he lost again.

The Jan­uary, Supreme 17, 2014 Court, in a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion dis­missed Mo­hammed Abacha’s ap­peal and held that im­mu­nity did not ex­tend be­yond the ten­ure of of­fice and that even if the late Head of State were alive, he could be pros­e­cuted for a crim­i­nal of­fence, much less his son who was never an oc­cu­pant of the of­fice of the Head of State.

In the fresh nine-count crim­i­nal charge, the Federal Govern­ment ac­cused Mo­hammed of “dis­hon­estly re­ceiv­ing stolen property worth N100.38 bil­lion “and “vol­un­tar­ily as­sisted in con­ceal­ing money.”

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