Zambia’s Unwavering Commitment to Asset Recovery: A Landmark Address in Vienna, Austria, September 5, 2023

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In a riveting speech at the seventeenth Open-ended Intergovernmental Expert Meeting on asset recovery in Vienna, Mr. Gilbert Phiri SC, Zambia’s Director of Public Prosecutions, passionately championed the country’s unwavering determination to combat corruption and propel asset recovery to new heights.

His speech was a resounding call to action, putting a spotlight on the following:

A Pledge to Combat Corruption:

Mr. Phiri declared that Zambia stands firm in its commitment to confront crime, uphold the rule of law, and relentlessly pursue asset recovery.

Birth of the EFCC Court:

The DPP stated that the judiciary’s drive to support efforts in the criminal justice arena to combat crime, uphold the rule of law, and vigorously pursue stolen assets culminated in the establishment of the specialised Economic and Financial Crimes Court (EFCC) on January 7, 2022. This was a significant step in an endeavor, designed to expedite the adjudication of financial crimes and asset recovery cases. He also acknowledged the political will behind this milestone.

Robust Legal Framework:

Mr. Phiri illuminated Zambia’s adherence to international standards through the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act (FPOCA), expertly integrating UNCAC principles into domestic law, empowering multiple institutions for asset forfeiture.

Key Players:

He underscored the indispensable role of the Asset Forfeiture Department (AFD) within the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) in prosecuting economic crimes, working in seamless collaboration with the NPA’s Taxation and Financial Crimes Department.

Global Partnerships:

Mr. Phiri emphasised Zambia’s proactive engagement with nations like South Africa and Zimbabwe, yielding triumphant asset seizures and repatriations, while actively participating in international requests for assistance and intelligence sharing.

Impressive Success Rates:

He showcased AFD’s impressive 99% success rate in effectively handling both conviction and non-conviction-based forfeiture applications.

Global Vision:

The DPP stated that Zambia aspires to play a leading role in the Global Forum for Asset Recovery, seeking support from international organisations to spearhead global justice and asset recovery initiatives.

Mr. Gilbert Phiri SC’s address was a clarion call for justice and transparency, exemplifying Zambia’s unwavering commitment to dismantling corruption and reclaiming stolen assets through dynamic international collaboration.