Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-163
Sani Abacha (Bahamas)
Nigeria
President (1993-1998)
Bahamas
Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
1999
Ongoing
Art.16, Art.17, Art.19, Art.20, Art.23
Yes
Actions Initiated by Foreign Jurisdiction
Letter of Request
Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act
Ongoing Case
Ongoing
Judgment by Court of First Instance
Funds are frozen in Switzerland; please see Switzerland entry
Ongoing
N/A

In March 2012, the Supreme Court of the Bahamas rejected an application by Ibrahim Ali Amin to remove the restraint on funds held in a numbered account of March Finance SA at the Private Investment Bank in Nassau, Bahamas. The Court referenced an affidavit by the Swiss Attorney General's Office which stated that the Swiss Investigating Judge's Conviction Order of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, dated November 19, 2009, in criminal case P/12983/199 versus Mr. Abba Abacha determined that the name Ibrahim Ali Amin was a fake name used to open the account. The Bahamas Supreme Court stated that this is not refuted, and held that the account should remain frozen until the proceedings against Abacha have been concluded and application for confiscation is made. (Source: The Attorney General vs. General Sani Abacha and others, Bahamas Supreme Court, March 19, 2012.)

According to the UK's Anti-Corruption Forum, "Yves Aeschlimann, a magistrate in Geneva, found Abba Abacha, son of General Sani Abacha, the late Nigerian dictator, guilty of corruption, sentenced him to a suspended prison term and ordered confiscation of $350m (EUR 235m, GBP 210m) in funds held in Luxembourg and the Bahamas. The funds had already been frozen by the investigation." (Source: UK Anti-Corruption Forum, November 2009 Newsletter).

According to a 2008 article by Attorney Enrico Monfrini, an appeal was pending before the Nigerian Supreme Court in the criminal cases arising from charges filed in 2000 and 2001 against Mr. Abacha's sons and associate. (Source: Enrico Monfrini, "The Abacha Case," in Mark Pieth, ed., Recovering Stolen Assets (Peter Lang, 2008), accessed at http://www.mcswisslaw.com/pages_e/2008%20Monfrini%20-%20The%20Abacha%20C... According to BBC News, in September 2011, the Swiss supreme court ordered the retrial of Mr. Abba Abacha, son of former President Abacha, on the basis that he had been unable to obtain a visa to attend his trial. (Source: BBC News, "Swiss court orders retrial of Nigeria's Abba Abacha," September 20, 2011.)

Special Panel established to investigate Abacha looting
Supreme Court, Common Law & Equity Division