Abacha loot: Ireland govt gives reasons for returning £5.5m to Nigeria

Former Nigerian head of state General Sani Abacha
Ernest Sunday

The Federal Government of Ireland has thrown light on the reasons the government wants to return £5.5 million looted by the late Nigerian's military head of state, General Sani Abacha.

The Ministry of Justice and Equality Ireland stated the reasons on its website saying the government wants to help Nigeria and other international countries to fight against corruption.

In a statement the Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD said: “This very welcome outcome has been achieved by significant multi-agency collaboration in Ireland.

”In addition to the work of the CAB and my department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has worked closely with the authorities in Nigeria in relation to this matter.

"I want to congratulate all those who worked towards achieving the conclusion of this memorandum.

”It demonstrates the intent of both states to uphold our shared values and our international obligations to eliminate corruption.”

According to the minister, Ireland government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian government to foster the returning of the fund.

“On foot of an order of the High Court on 15 June last, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Republic of Nigeria to facilitate the return of funds misappropriated by the late former Nigerian President, General Sani Abacha, " McEntee 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 ministry through the Criminal Assets Bureau froze an account owned by the late General which was found in Dublin in October 2014.

The government of Ireland started looking into returning the looted fund after the Nigerian government wrote an Application to Ireland last year.

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