Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:46 pm
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
With an eye on 2015 election,the Goodluck Jonathan administration today withdrew the seven count charge it slammed on scion of the late former dictator, Gen Sani Abacha.
Muhammed Abacha was standing trial at an Abuja high court for allegedly stealing the sum of N446.3 billion belonging to the federal government while his late father held sway as the Head of State.
Mr. Abacha protested against the charge at both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court where he lost his appeals for the charge to be quashed.
Soon after the trial was rescheduled to commence before the Abuja court, the federal government began moves to withdraw the trial, giving Mr. Abacha, the respite superior Nigerian courts had denied him.
At Wednesday’s proceedings before the trial judge, Justice Mamman Kolo, the federal government informed the court of its decision to withdraw the criminal charge against Mr. Abacha.
The federal government had through a private legal practitioner, Mr. Daniel Enwelum, filed the nine counts charge against Mohammed where he was accused of “dishonestly receiving stolen property” and “voluntarily assisted in concealing money,” belonging to the state and estimated at N446.3billion.
Unlike in previous proceedings where Mohammed had shunned the court, he was personally in court for the proceedings when Mr. Enwelum informed the court about the directives he received from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), to the effect that he should discontinue the case.
“I have been instructed by the AGF and Minister of Justice to withdraw the charges as presently filed before this court, because there are fresh facts and documents available to him” the lawyer told the court.
He told the court that he had been instructed by the Justice minister to file a notice of withdrawal without prejudice to future cause of action to be taken by his (AGF’s) office.
“In compliance with that instruction, I have filed a notice of withdrawal dated June 17, 2014. I humbly apply to withdraw the charges accordingly,” Enwelum added.
Mr. Abacha’s lawyer, Abdullahi Haruna, did not object to the decision by the state to withdraw the charge.
In a short ruling, the trial judge granted the application to withdraw the charge and thereafter, struck out the charge and discharged the accused person.