29 January 2016

Tanzania: Graft Booty Worth 11 Billion/ - Frozen

Assets Recovery and Forfeiture Section (AFRS) has obtained more than 24 court orders for freezing and forfeiting posh cars, cash, bank accounts and real estate owned by corruption convicts estimated at 11bn/- for the past five years.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr Biswalo Mganga, told a joint press conference in Dar es Salaam that the properties and cash have been recovered from people who were found guilty in corruption, poaching, human traffic and narcotic drugs cases.

"Confiscation of assets of corrupt politicians, drug kingpins, human traffickers, fraudsters and poachers does not only send a strong signal that crime does not pay but also weaken criminals by denying them financial strength," said the DPP.

Mr Mganga pointed out that the country introduced the Proceeds of Crime Act in 1991 in line with a general trend at the international level and the requirements of several international treaties.

However, he said, it took more than a decade until 2011, the DPP established AFRS within his office, with the prime purpose of effectively implementing the act, saying the department is now implementing its strategic plan 2014-2017.

Mr Mganga explained that in designing and implementing the plan, AFRS is cooperating with a host of national stakeholders and received outside support from the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

On his part, the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Mr Diwani Athumani, said under the strategic plan the state had already delivered three verdicts while 20 others are awaiting court permit for the assets to be confiscated and restrained.

"The assets, which are under the investigations, are houses, plots, cars, boats and cash. The experience has shown that most convicts use their spouses' names or children's names in ownership of the assets," said the DCI.

Mr Athumani warned that those who would be found their names or accounts to be used by the convicts would face the wrath of law, noting that members of the public should not accept their bank accounts to be used for money laundering.

The Director of Investigations in Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Mr Alex Mfungo, urged members of the public to provide the PCCB with cooperation and that anyone with information on properties of the people who are under investigations to tip off the anti-corruption watchdog.

"Previously, a convict could be sent to jail yet his family could benefit from the stolen assets or cash obtained from corruption but not this time around," he observed.

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