The fragmented approach to confiscating dirty assets in Botswana
Mokgathong, Tyron Oshima
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In the early 1990s Botswana faced rising levels of grand corruption and economic crimes in general. The laws could not cope with the high incidence of economic criminality, especially as regards the confiscation of dirty assets. At the time, the government relied solely on laws regulating the forfeiture of prohibited property and instruments of crime, given that there were no laws authorising the confiscation of proceeds of crime. The drivers of the said forfeiture laws are the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Botswana Police Service (BPS) and the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS). Parliament then enacted the Proceeds of Serious Crime Act No. 19 of 1990 (PSCA). The PSCA was a three-pronged tool in that it introduced the offence of money-laundering, enhanced investigative powers, and authorised conviction-based confiscation of proceeds of crime. The DPP was tasked with conducting criminal prosecutions and applying for confiscation orders. The BPS was mandated to conduct financial investigations.