The federal government has filed a fresh charge against the son of late head of state General Sani Abacha.
In the new charge, the son of the late dictator, Mohammed, is being accused of unlawfully receiving about N446.3billion allegedly stolen from government's coffers between 1995 and 1998.
He is being accused in the nine-count charge of "dishonestly receiving stolen property" and "voluntarily assisted in concealing money". The charge replaced the earlier one of 121 counts in which Mohammed was charged with Atiku Bagudu.
Bagudu has been excluded from the fresh charge, leaving only Mohammed.
In the new charge marked CR.21-24/2008, the stolen money allegedly received by Mohammed, which he was accused of concealing include 141,100,000 pounds sterling and 384,353,000 US dollars made up of cash and travellers' cheques.
The charge dated February 24, 2014, was filed by a private prosecutor, Daniel Enwelum, who is prosecuting the case on behalf of the federal government and upon a fiat dated February 18, 2014, issued to him by the attorney-general of the federation.
Mohammed's absence in court stalled his planned arraignment on the new charge yesterday before Justice Mamman Kolo of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
The prosecution counsel told the court that, even when Mohammed had been served with the charge, with evidence to that effect contained in a sworn affidavit by the court's bailiff, the accused person has refused to attend court to take his plea.
The new charge was filed pursuant to Section 181 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) as an amendment to the earlier charge.
Enwelum urged the court to accept the fresh charge and deemed the receipt of the charge by the defence lawyer on behalf of the accused person as proper service.
He said the lawyer, Abdulllahi Haruna, has promised to receive the charge for his client.
Haruna said Mohammed was absent in court because he was not aware of the new charge. He urged the court to adjourn the case to a further date to enable his client attend court.
Mohammed is expected to be arraigned on April 29, 2014.
In Count 1, Mohammed is alleged to have, between August and December 1995 in Abuja, dishonestly received $36,480,000.00 made up of cash and travellers' cheques, property of the federal government, believed to have been stolen.
Count 2alleges that Mohammed, between August and December 1995 in Abuja, voluntarily assisted in concealing $57,960,000.00 believed to have been stolen from the federal government.
Count 3 alleges that he, between October and December 1996 in Abuja, dishonestly received $26,913,500.00 believed to have been stolen from the federal government.