Abacha victim storms US court to stop repatriation of Abacha loot to Kebbi governor

Posted by News Express | 28 January 2023 | 643 times

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•Accused Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu


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A prominent victim of late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha’s human rights abuses has approached a US Court urging it to stop the repatriation of Abacha’s loot to the Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu and his family but to consider Nigerian victims instead.

Emmanuel Ogebe, a human rights lawyer who was abducted and tortured at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja by Abacha’s killer squad in the ’90s, recently filed an Amicus Brief in the US District Court in Washington to this effect.

Part of the motion sighted by News Express reads:

“At issue before this court are several near improbable propositions:

“A.- that crime does pay and that, from the grave, a deceased African dictator continues to impoverish his people - a quarter century after. This honorable court has been invited to aid and abet this travesty by Claimant which is unconscionable.

“For historical context, granting the claim of Claimant Bagudu is the equivalent of infamous Philippine ex-First Lady Imelda Marcos seeking a return of her notorious shoe collection purchased with wealth looted from her country or even worse, Hitler’s Goebbels seeking to reclaim World War II looted Jewish artifacts for the benefit of the Nazis’ kin. This is not the right trajectory of the universe’s arc of justice and we urge the court not to dignify this ignominy.

“B. - the bizarre proposition that the government of Nigerian has proven singularly incapable of acting in the best interest of its citizenry. This is akin to a Custodian refusing to identify and reclaim recovered stolen property for his employer.

“C. – that USA is a safe haven for illicit funds where African dictators and global malefactors can count on retrieving their squirrelled nest eggs decades after the crime. This offends against public policy, law and order which Plaintiff is duty-bound to uphold.

“The principle that crime doesn’t and mustn’t pay is fundamental to legal jurisprudence universally and a bad precedent of rewarding the perpetrators and ignoring the victims should not be created.

“We believe that the dictum of this court in an earlier memorandum ruling on the motion to dismiss is appropriate here:

“ “Nevertheless, dismissing a case because of international comity concerns is inappropriate when doing so “ ‘would be contrary to the policies or prejudicial to the interests of the United States.’ ” One Gulfstream, 941 F.Supp.2d at 10 (quoting Pravin Banker, 109 F.3d at 854 ); see also United States v. Portrait of Wally, A Painting By Egon Schiele, No. 99–cv–9940, 2002 WL 553532, at *10 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 12, 2002) (“Even when there is true conflict with the laws of a foreign nation, United States courts will not yield in the name of comity if doing so conflicts with the law or policy of the United States.”).”” See Dkt 79.

“It is explicit that to compromise this action in circumstances contrary to US policy is untenable. We daresay this applies here as settling this suit by rewarding the perpetrators “conflicts with…law or policy” of the US and is “prejudicial to interests” of the US to protect itself from illicit foreign financial flows.

“In that light, we are opposing any settlement by the Parties that doesn’t include the victims of Gen. Abacha who have twice been betrayed by their government, firstly, in the theft of these funds and, secondly, in the failure to recover Nigeria’s looted funds”.”

Source: News Express

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