THE government has confiscated assets amounting to over 90bn/- from proceeds of various crimes, an initiative reached through the improvement of the country’s legislation on money laundering and proceeds of crime.
Such assets include minerals worth 32.7bn/-, houses, vehicles and motorcycles (41.6bn/-), some of which were recovered from a pyramid scheme identified as DECI (14bn/-) and 10.7bn/- from forest products.
Vice-President (VP) Samia Suluhu Hassan said this in Dar es Salaam yesterday, while delivering a keynote address on behalf of President John Magufuli at the 10th anniversary and annual general meeting of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa (ARINSA).
According to the VP, development is a result of great partnership, which has been derived through ARINSA capacity building and mentorship programmes to prosecutors, judges and magistrates in handling investigations relating to transnational and organised crimes.
“Taking into consideration that crime has no borders, the Heads of States of ARINSA members have also ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational and Organised Crimes requiring them to devise strategies of criminalisation of laundering of the proceeds of crime,” she said.
The VP said she got to learn that charcoal was among the proceeds of crime, when exported outside the country as the money obtained was sometimes used in criminal deals.
“I was speaking to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and he notified me how charcoal was used as a source of crime... since my office is responsible for the management of the environment, I will ensure the practice does not continue,” noted the VP.
She expressed appreciation to ARINSA for supporting 17 experts in handling matters related to asset forfeiture and transnational organised crimes.
Although the number is still minimal, the VP called upon member states to enact a law, which would enable part of the funds obtained through confiscation of proceeds of crime to support their operations.
The ARINSA president, who is also DPP in the country, Mr Biswalo Mganga noted that in the course of time ARINSA had achieved a lot in setting and implementing programmes that strengthened professionalism in an asset forfeiture regime, antimoney laundering and wildlife crimes.
Other areas include cybercrimes and counter financing terrorism through training workshops with a view to enhancing knowledge and skills. He noted since 2009 to date 136 law enforcement officers had attended a prosecutor placement programme.
Countries that have benefited from the PPP programme include Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“Because of this member states have been able to initiate a total number of 416 restraint, preservation and 142 forfeiture or confiscation applications. The total value of forfeiture or confiscation order is $1.406bn.
Records show that Africa is no longer a safe haven for criminals,” he said.
He pointed out that ARINSA had also prepared a case digest, which would be used as a reference book for prosecutors and judicial officers handling forfeiture applications in court and a source of information and knowledge on matters relating to anti-money laundering, organised crimes and asset forfeiture.
In light of the meeting, the VP also launched a new publication for prosecutors and judicial officers handling forfeiture applications.
For his part, Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Dr Augustine Mahiga, noted that for any country to experience growth in its economy, there was a need to maintain security of its people and their property, so partnership was crucial.
Dr Mahiga called upon participants to set sometime after the meeting scheduled for three days to visit the country’s tourist attracts.