Nigeria, Ireland reach deal for return of another €5.5m Abacha Loot

Nigeria and the Republic of Ireland have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the return of €5.5 million looted by ex-Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha, who died in 1998.

Remarking after the signing of the agreement, Thursday, the Irish Minister of Justice and Equality, Ms Helen McEntee, said the deal followed an order recently issued by a court in Ireland regarding the funds.

The Ireland Criminal Assets Bureau was said to have frozen the loot in 2014 where it was kept in an Irish bank account.

“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,” she said in a statement issued, Thursday.

She further said the MoU to return the loot was achieved by significant multi-agency collaboration in Ireland, saying: “It demonstrates the intent of both States to uphold our shared values and our international obligations to eliminate corruption.”

So far, more than $3.5 billion have been recovered out of that money but reports suggest that the monies are being looted again by public servants charged with handling the reparations.

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