The Irish government on Thursday agreed to return to Nigeria about €5.5 million allegedly stolen from the country by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
A statement issued on Friday by the Ireland Department of Justice and Equality said the development followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the repatriation of stolen funds with Nigeria.
The Irish Minister of Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee, said the signing of the agreement was the culmination of a long process which began with an internationally led investigation.
She said the return of the assets would be the first time that Ireland has taken such action, adding that it was a concrete 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.
The minister 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 $1bn in funds worldwide, of which approximately €5.5 million was identified in a Dublin based bank account.
“The assets misappropriated by the late Gen. Sani Abacha, former Head of State of Nigeria, were frozen in a bank account in Ireland by the Criminal Assets Bureau in October 2014. Following an application by the Nigerian authorities last year, the High Court has recently made an order providing for the return of these assets to Nigeria.”
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