Assembly approves amendment to Proceeds of Crime (Civil Confiscation) Act |06 April 2021
In a brief intermission in considering the national budget, the National Assembly on Wednesday last week approved an amendment to the Proceeds of Crime (Civil Confiscation) Act.
The amendment has lowered the ranking to include police inspectors in the list of police officers or enforcement personnel allowed to file an affidavit when confiscating property that have been acquired through proceeds of crime.
It took less than an hour for the National Assembly to green light the amendment.
The amended bill was presented to the National Assembly by Internal Affairs minister, Errol Fonseka, and the National Assembly voted to waive the stages of the bill passage in the National Assembly so it could be dealt with swiftly.
Minister Fonseka explained that the Proceeds of Crime (Civil Confiscation) Act 2008 came into force to allow the Supreme Court to give directions to preserve and dispose of properties that have been acquired by individuals through crime.
This direction can only be given and supported by an affidavit.
“At that time, it was the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) that was able to undertake such applications under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this Act. Back then, the direction had to be supported by an affidavit or a sworn declaration by an asset agent,” noted Minister Fonseka.
With an amendment in 2017, police officers above the rank of inspector were provided with the legal power to file the affidavit or declaration. This included assistant superintendents, superintendents, chief superintendents, deputy commissioner and commissioner of police.
Now due to Wednesday’s amendment, even police inspectors will be able to provide the Supreme Court with the necessary affidavit.
“The reason behind the amendment is firstly because the Financial Crime Investigation Unit (FCIU) in the police force received the mandate to deal with cases relating to proceeds of crime since 2017. The Anti Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Act 2020 also recognises the power of the FCIU to conduct investigations,” added Minister Fonseka.
Minister Fonseka further explained that the number of senior police officers above the rank of inspectors is limited in the Seychelles police force while the numbers of cases are significantly increasing.
He noted that the new administration is taking the enforcement of laws such as the Proceeds of Crime (Civil Confiscation) Act extremely seriously to discourage criminals such as drug dealers and traffickers.