Abacha appeals ruling

GENEVA - The son of the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha was to appear in a Geneva court yesterday to appeal against a judgment that he surrender $350million (R2,6billion) pillaged from his country.

GENEVA - The son of the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha was to appear in a Geneva court yesterday to appeal against a judgment that he surrender $350million (R2,6billion) pillaged from his country.

A Geneva magistrate who convicted Abba Abacha, 41, in November of taking part in a criminal organisation, handed down a suspended prison term and ordered he surrender $350million in illegally obtained assets.

Under the Swiss legal system, the appeal brings the case to a court.

"This is the first time this monumental embezzlement case is being heard in court," wrote the Geneva daily Le Temps, noting that Abacha was seeking acquittal.

Nigeria sent Switzerland a request in 1999, the year after Sani Abacha died, to help it recover some $2,2billion (R187bn) that the dictator was suspected of having siphoned off from the country's central bank during his rule from 1993 to 1998.

Some $700million (R5,3bn) stashed in Swiss banks has been returned to Nigeria's authorities. - Sapa-AFP

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