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Corruption: Transparency International calls for reinstatement of graft charges against Abacha

By The Citizen

Global anti-corruption agency, Transparency International on Tuesday condemned the recent decision of the Federal government to withdraw N446.3 billion corruption charges against Mohammed Abacha, son of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

The funds were stolen from the Nigerian treasury when the father of the accused was the military head of state.

But while calling on government to immediately reinstatement of charges against the Abacha family, Transparency International in a statement on Tuesday said the government's action sends a wrong message that those who steal public funds can be allowed to go unpunished if they are powerful.

'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 body said in the statement signed by Chantal Uwimana, Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at Transparency International.

'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 half of Nigerians live in poverty,' said TI.