Abacha’s son absent at Swiss trial again

Channels Television  
Updated July 4, 2012

The trial of Abba Abacha, son of late Military President Sani Abacha, began in his absence in Switzerland on Wednesday, for the second time in two years.

Abba, who is accused of misappropriating funds while his father was in power, was said to be unable to travel after a road accident, his counsel told the Swiss court.

At a previous trial in 2010, the young Abacha failed to turn up at court after Swiss authorities refused to grant him a visa.

Counsel to the defendant, Christian Luscher, was quoted by Swiss news that the accident happened last Thursday in Kano, where  Abba lives. He is said to have sustained head injuries and whiplash from the accident.

A medical certificate and police report were produced at the court to back up the claim, before the lawyer asked for the trial to be adjourned till his client is fit to travel.

Late Sani Abacha is estimated to have siphoned about $2 billion off the nation’s wealth, of which $700 million has been returned  from Swiss bank accounts to the Nigerian government.

Another $400 million is believed to be in Luxembourg, lawyers for the federal government have said.

At his initial trial in 2010, Abba Abacha received a two-year suspended sentence.

The presiding judges also ordered the confiscation of $350 million dollars from his accounts in Luxembourg and the Bahamas.

The judgment was annulled by Switzerland’s Supreme Court after it found that Abba’s rights had been violated since he was tried in absentia.