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Irish government to return €5.5m in funds misappropriated by former Nigerian leader

The government said the funds were frozen in a Dublin-based bank account.

Image: Shutterstock

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT has signed an agreement with Nigeria to return funds misappropriated by Nigeria’s former leader General Sani Abacha, which were frozen in an Irish bank account.

Abacha ruled Nigeria from 1993 until 1998. The assets misappropriated by the former leader were frozen in a Dublin-based bank account by the Criminal Assets Bureau in October 2014.

Following an application by the Nigerian authorities last year, the High Court made an order providing for the return of these assets to Nigeria.

Today Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the signing of the agreement 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,” she said.

McEntee said 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”.

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“This very welcome outcome has been achieved by significant multi-agency collaboration in Ireland. In addition to the work of the CAB and my own 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.”

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