Fact sheet on the Civil Asset Recovery and Management Unexplained Wealth Bill
WHY IS THIS BILL IMPORTANT?
- It targets persons who find creative ways to hide the profit of crime
- Civil asset recovery has been used as a mechanism to address organised crime in other countries
- It has borne fruit in countries such as neighbouring St Vincent and Grenadines
- It deals with the recovery of wealth accrued by criminals
WHO WILL MANAGE THE OPERATION OF THIS LAW?
- A Civil Asset Recovery Agency will be established to receive the assets
- The agency will be managed under trusteeship provisions and is the entity that the DPP can ask to receive an investigation. It is the agency that approaches the court.
- The agency will comprise of three trustees: the Civil Asset Trustee and two Deputies. The Civil Asset Trustee and one of the Deputies must be attorneys-at-law appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission
- The third person will be appointed following agreement by the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader
- If the PM and Opposition cannot agree on someone, the President will appoint someone
- The agency will be insulated from political interference and will have independent agents who from a protection standpoint will be ranked the same as a High Court judge, in order to shield them from ministerial and other interventions
- The trustee will be immune from criminal and civil suit and liability
HOW ARE CITIZENS RIGHTS PROTECTED?
- It is the Civil Asset Recovery Agency that goes to court with an order
- Assets are not automatically forfeited
- There can be no forfeiture unless the court give an instruction
- No asset forfeiture can be recommended until the DPP tells the Civil Asset Recovery Agency to approach the court
- Anyone with an interest in the property which is the subject of a forfeiture has the right to approach the court
- A police officer who is responsible for financial investigations may apply to the court asking for a preliminary unexplained wealth order
- The owner of the property in question has ample opportunity to explain their wealth
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO NOTE?
- There has been two and half years of public consultations on this Bill.
- The law does not require a special majority because it does not infringe any of the 3/5 rights. It is a simple majority piece of law and is recognised as due process within the constitutional parameters.
- The law will apply to offences that existed prior to the law because the crime may be of a continuing nature
- There will be a Committee of the Whole of the House to examine the bill in full detail.
For more information check the following link: http://www.ttparliament.org/legislations/b2019h06.pdf