The Republic of Ireland have signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria to return €5.5 million looted by Sani Abacha, former Nigerian head of state.
The loot was frozen by the Ireland Criminal Assets Bureau on the request of then president, Goodluck Jonathan, in 2014.
Helen McEntee, Ireland’s Minister of Justice and Equality, said the MoU followed an order recently issued by a court in Ireland regarding the funds.
“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.”
Around $3.6 million has been recovered from the over $5 billion Transparency International estimates was looted by Abacha during his regime from 1993 to 1998.