Mahiga: We should freeze ill-gotten assets to tame criminals

THE government says that the only way of depriving criminals of the proceeds of crime in Tanzania, African Countries and worldwide is to freeze their assets once they are convicted.

This was said by the Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Dr Augustine Mahiga, in Dar es Salaam yesterday, at a media briefing session on the Annual General Meeting for Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa (ARINSA) to be held in Dar es Salaam starting today.

Dr Mahiga said that jail terms usually imposed on criminals wasn’t the best way of dealing with criminals and curbing the vice in Tanzania and other countries worldwide, but confiscating their ill-gotten assets.

He said ARINSA’s aim was to ensure that no criminal benefitted from the vice and countries should not be hiding places for criminals.

Dr Mahiga said through the AGM that will stretch to tomorrow, State leaders from the member countries will deliberate on how best to cooperate in fighting criminals involved in money laundering, cybercrimes, drug crimes, human trafficking and other international crimes that threaten global peace.

He said the meeting to be conducted along with celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of ARINSA, would be attended by senior government officials from member states, such as ministers, permanent secretaries, prosecutors and investigators.

The ARINSA Advisor on Asset Forfeiture, Anti-Money Laundering, and Proceeds of Crime, Mr Fitz-Roy Drayton, said that ARINSA was crucial to tackling crimes in the world.

He said in 2018, the countries involved reported to have confiscated about 700 million US dollars worth assets, 26 million US dollars in 2017, 23 million US dollars in 2016 and 17 million US dollars in 2015.

“If people benefit from crimes, there are mechanisms now in place to take away the benefit from them,” he said, adding that through the ARINSA, the countries share information, training investigators and prosecutors, including specialists having judicial retreat for the member countries.

The President of ARINSA and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Biswalo Mganga, told journalists that about 250 people from member states were expected to attend the meeting.

He said ARINSA include 16 countries linked to SADC. They include Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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