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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2010

I resumed reading some remaining Bills from the last seating of Parliament.  The The Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2010 is an important development in the fight against corruption. The objects of this Bill are to :

a) provide for the confiscation of the proceeds of crime;  b) for the deprivation of any person of any proceed, benefit or property derived from the commission of any serious offence;  c) facilitate the tracing of any proceed, benefit and property derived from the commission of any serious offence; and,  d) the provide for the domestication of the United Nations Convention against Corruption
A key element is that is that the civil forfeiture proceedings will be treated as civil proceedings and not criminal proceedings, and therefore the burden of proof is somewhat lower. One of the criticism of the current criticism of the existing legislation on corruption relates to the burden proof for convicting criminals. Under the proposed legislation the State will only be required to prove their case on a ‘balance of probabilities’ as opposed to ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ which is required in criminal proceedings.  The other issue is that the Government will be able to recover obtained property without waiting for the conclusion of criminal proceedings. We will therefore see parallel routes taken with civil proceedings being swifter.  The combined effect of these changes is a stronger deterrence effect against corruption, all things being equal.

A Million Words Project Review
The following Bills remain from the last seating. Its my intention to read through these before Parliament resumes :

The Immigration and Deportation Bill, 2010
The Dairy Produce Marketing and Levy (Repeal) Bill, 2010
The Dairy Produce Board (Establishment) (Repeal) Bill, 2010
The Dairy Industry Development Bill 2010"
The Registration of Business Names (Amendment) Bill, 2010
The Engineering Institution of Zambia Bill,2010

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