Transparency International has berated the federal government of Nigeria of its decision to drop charges of theft against Mohammed Abacha, the son of deceased military dictator, General Sani Abacha.
Mohammed Abacha had been charged with helping his father steal and launder about N446.3bn through various shady foreign accounts between 1995 and 1998.
The government in a shocking move last week withdrew the charges over moves that political analysts say is to clear the path for Mohammed to run for the governorship of Kano State under the platform of the ruling PDP.
But Transparency International in a statement by Chantal Uwimana, Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa said: ‘Allowing the theft of public funds to go unpunished sends the wrong message that those with powerful connections can act with impunity. The case should have been fully prosecuted and the government has not given adequate reasons for dropping the charges.’
‘The global anti-corruption movement, deplores the action taken by the government of Nigeria to drop corruption charges against Mohammed Abacha, son of the late president of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha and calls for their immediate reinstatement.
‘The government had accused Mohammed Abacha of receiving stolen property worth millions of dollars. The money is believed to have been stolen by his father when he was President.
‘In his lifetime Gen. Abacha was investigated for corruption and human rights violations. Recently the United States government froze US$458 million in assets it claims he and co-conspirators stole from Nigeria. In separate legal proceedings, Liechtenstein agreed on June 18 to return US$224 million held by companies linked to Gen. Abacha.
‘Corruption is widespread in Nigeria and despite claims by the government to make tackling corruption a priority too few people have been held to account for a series of high profile scandals. At the same time about live in poverty.’
Nigeria, one of the world’s largest oil producers, is believed to have lost over $500 billion dollars to corruption.