The global anti-corruption movement, Transparency International (TI), has expressed discomfort with the recent action taken by the federal government to drop the corruption charges filed against Mohammed Abacha, son of the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
TI, in this regard, called for an immediate reinstatement of all corruption charges previously held against Abacha.
It stated that allowing Abacha to go free from corruption charges levelled against him without trial amounts to encouraging impunity in the polity.
The government had accused Mohammed Abacha of receiving stolen property worth millions of dollars.
It had explained that the money was believed to have been stolen by his father when he was the Head of State of the country and had thus filed a nine-count charge against Mohammed.
But TI in a statement obtained by THISDAY yesterday in Abuja stated that: “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 statement was signed by the Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa at TI Chantal Uwimana.
TI noted that the late Abacha was in his lifetime investigated for corruption and human rights violations and that the United States Government had recently frozen $458 million in assets it claimed he and his co-conspirators stole from Nigeria.
Also, in separate legal proceedings, Liechtenstein agreed on June 18 to return $224 million held by companies linked to the late Army General.
TI further noted that corruption was widespread in Nigeria and despite claims by the government to tackle the menace a priority, too few people had been held to account for a series of high profile scandals, adding that at the same time, about half of Nigerians live in poverty.