An evaluation of Zambia’s asset recovery laws
Contrary to Common perception, corruption is not all that ails Africa. It is only a component of the multifaceted economic criminality that leads to illicit capital flight from developing states and those undergoing political transition. The siphoning away of economic resources has a devastating impact on such countries, both economically and socially. This leads to an erosion of public confidence in government departments and in the administration of justice generally. The clandestine nature of economic criminality makes it particularly hard to prosecute. There has thus been an international consensus that asset recovery would be the most apt mode of deterrence and reparation. Having its genesis in the 1989 Vienna convention, asset recovery has now become a useful tool with which developing countries can recoup some of the assets plundered by criminals. The United Nations Convention against corruption has also made it possible for states to recover stolen assets by way of non--‐criminal or non--‐conviction—based procedures. The main challenge for developing states is to make international treaties part of their national law. The democratization of former dictatorial states, especially those in Africa, also means that whatever international norms are domesticated in national legislation, should be in line with the tenets of their respective democratic constitutions, thus making them legally irreproachable. This paper evaluates Zambia’s Forfeiture of proceeds of crime Act. It discusses Zambia’s asset recovery provisions against the backdrop of international benchmarks and the laws of a few other countries that also have asset recovery laws. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations.