FG ties Mohammed Abacha's freedom to $402m deal

Posted by Webby on 7/26/2002 8:15:04 AM
Post Comment FG ties Mohammed Abacha's freedom to $402m deal Nigeria
ABUJA — THE Federal Government is not disposed to releasing, on bail, the detained son of the late Gen. Sani Abacha, Mohammed, until he pays $402 million into its coffers.

The amount is said to be the balance of the $1.002 billion he was ordered to refund by the Abdulsalami Abubakar administration. He had earlier paid $800 million of the amount.

Mohammed was expected to be released yesterday from the Kuje Prisons in Abuja 24 hours after an Abuja High Court granted him bail in respect of a 111-count charge of looting government funds, receiving stolen property and conspiracy preferred against him and his business associate, Atiku Bagudu.

Mohammed has already met the conditions set for the bail, which are:

*That he (Abacha) provides two sureties who must be owners of landed property worth N10 million who would sign the bail bond.

*That he (Abacha) must submit to the court a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of a landed property worth N10 million.

*That his international passport already confiscated by the Federal Government remains with it (Federal Government).

*That he be put under close security surveillance.

Vanguard confirmed yesterday from the Registry of the Abuja High Court that, by 1.30 p.m yesterday Abacha had fulfilled these conditions.

However, his counsel, Mr. Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) confirmed to correspondents that there was disagreement between the Federal Government and his client on the method of paying the said US$402 million. He said Mohammed’s release might be stalled by this development.

His words: "Mohammed had refunded $800 million during the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakars regime and there is now a balance of US$402 million that is yet to be paid of the alleged Abacha loot.

"The family is broke and Mohammed clearly said the government should collect the said balance by defreezing his accounts. That was the only source by which that balance can be paid. The Federal Government does not agree to this and insists on him paying the balance before his release."

Hundreds of relations and sympathisers who beseiged the Federal Prisons, Kuje in Abuja to usher Mohammed freedom after three years behind bars were visibly disappointed at the twist of event.

Security in and around the prison was tight.

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