The Federal Republic of Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Ireland for the return of $6.3 million (equivalent of 5.49million Euros), regarding the return, disposition and management of certain forfeited assets. The agreement was reached at the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF) in Abuja, on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.
In his brief remarks after signing the MOU on behalf of Nigeria Government, Mr Malami said that the Federal Republic of Nigeria through its legal representatives went to court to assert its right over the Abacha stolen funds seized in Ireland by the High Court of Ireland in 2015. “On December 10, 2019, the FG sought for an order pursuant to section 3(3) of the 1996 act to discharge or vary the order of March 16, 2015.
After hearing the Nigerian government’s arguments, the high court on June 15, 2020 in the exercise of its functions, ordered that the stolen assets recovered from the Abacha family should be transferred to the FG for the benefit of Nigerians subject to the execution of a MOU between the two Governments,” Malami explained. He expressed his delight over Nigeria and Ireland conclusion on the negotiation of the return of $6.3 million (equivalent of 5.49 million Euros).
According to him, “this had demonstrated that International cooperation and mutual trust can lead to great benefit for citizens in developing countries, where more than half of the population still live below poverty line”.
Malami noted that, “The Federal Ministry of Justice has obtained presidential approval to sign the MOU on behalf of the Government of Nigeria. Therefore, today, I have the privilege to sign this MOU on behalf of Nigeria. The Minister of Justice and Equality, Ms Helen McEntee, TD is also signing the counterpart MOU in Ireland”.
However, the Minister maintained that “the most salient aspect of the MOU is that, the stolen funds that are now being returned to Nigeria will be applied to the infrastructure projects under the supervision of the Nigeria Social Investment Authority (NSIA) to ensure the completion of on-going work of the 2nd Niger Bridge, Abuja –Kano Express Way and the Lagos-Ibadan road. Adding that, these projects will benefit millions of Nigeria”.
Malami said that the implementation of the MOU will be monitored by the identified Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to be recruited under the project and would also be audited by an independent auditor in line with best practices.