Ireland has reached an agreement with the government of Nigeria on the return of another €5.5 million loot stashed away in the country by former military president, Sani Abacha.
The two countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the return of the looted fund which is kept in a Dublin based bank account.
According to Helen McEntee, Ireland’s minister of justice and equality, the MoU followed a recent court order regarding the funds which had been frozen in 2014 by the Ireland Criminal Assets Bureau based on a request from the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“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,” McEntee said in a statement on Thursday.
“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.”
McEntee added that the signed MoU represents the commitment of the two nations in fighting global corruption.
“It demonstrates the intent of both States to uphold our shared values and our international obligations to eliminate corruption.”
While it remains unclear how much General Abacha looted during his time as Nigeria’s leader, Transparency International estimates he might have looted as much as $5 billion during his regime from 1993 to 1998.