Ireland has said it is set to return about €5.5 million stolen by Nigeria’s former head of state General Sani Abacha following an agreement with the Nigerian Government.
In a statement made available by the Minister of Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee, she explained that the decision followed an order recently issued by a court in Ireland regarding the funds.
According to her the return of the assets would be the first time the country would be taking such action, which is a demonstration of the country’s commitment to international cooperation in the fight against corruption and to assisting countries which have been adversely affected by corruption in the past.
She said, “I am very pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding between Ireland and Nigeria. This represents the culmination of a long process which began with an internationally led investigation.
“The Criminal Assets Bureau took part in this international operation which led to the freezing of over $1 billion in funds worldwide, of which approximately €5.5 million was identified in a Dublin based bank account.
“The return of these assets will be the first time that Ireland has taken such action and will be a concrete demonstration of Ireland’s commitment to international cooperation in the fight against corruption and to assisting countries which have been adversely affected by corruption in the past, and is in line with our international obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption.
“It demonstrates the intent of both States to uphold our shared values and our international obligations to eliminate corruption”, she added.
The Ireland Criminal Assets Bureau was said to have frozen the money in 2014 where it was kept in an Ireland bank account.
Nigeria has continued to recover money stolen by Abacha during his military regime, about $3.6 billion has so far been recovered out of all that he was reported to have looted from the country’s treasury.