A memorandum of understanding(MOU) which was signed earlier this week by both teams from the concerned countries has set the ball rolling for the Republic of Ireland to return some looted funds which was seized from the country’s former military dictator, Gen Abacha.
While signing the agreement at the office of the attorney general of the federation, the attorney general explained that the repatriation of the cash followed the hearing of arguments from the FG and Government of Ireland in the high court on 15th June 2020.
He added that the high court had ordered that the looted funds which were recovered from the Abacha family be transferred to the FG.
The transfer was, however, subject to the execution of an MOU between the two concerned Governments.
While the attorney general of the federation, Malami signed for the Nigerian government, Ms. Helen McEntee, TD signed the counterpart MOU for the republic of Ireland.
This is coming in the wake of monumental corruption allegations against some Nigerian politicians and parastatals notably, the NDDC.
The recovered loot was frozen by The Ireland Criminal Assets Bureau in 2014 on the orders of the administration of fmr President Goodluck Jonathan.
Chronicling the Abacha loot over the years, during the government of Abdulsalami Abubakar, in 1999, about $750 million was recovered. During fmr President Obasanjo’s government, $1.2 billion was recovered in 2002; $149 million in Jersey Island, UK in 2003; $500 million in 2004 from Switzerland and another $458 in 2005 from Switzerland.
Speaking, the representative of the Republic of Ireland, Helen McEntee, who is the minister of justice and equality, said the signing of the MoU followed an order recently issued by an Ireland court.
While Jonathan was in power, $1 billion was recovered in 2012 and $380 million in 2015, both loots were recovered from Switzerland. Another $227 million was also recovered from Liechtenstein in 2014 and $48 million from the United States the same year.
In Buhari’s administration, a total of about $2.6 billion has been recovered so far and the bulk of the funds have been from Switzerland while the other recoveries came from the UK and the USA.