Empowering Asset Management: Zambia’s Visionary Approach.


Asset recovery serves as a powerful tool in combating illicit financial activities by sending a clear message that crime crime does not pay and that perpetrators will face consequences for their actions. It is widely recognised that transparent and accountable management of criminal assets is crucial to the asset recovery process. Effective management of these assets requires specialised skills and a need for decision-making independence among those overseeing them.

In light of these considerations, it is suggested that pairing asset recovery and asset management functions within a single institution would be more logical, efficient, and effective. Zambia is contemplating adopting a multi-agency approach to target the forfeiture of proceeds from criminal activities. To achieve this, legislation is proposed to establish a collaborative inter-agency institution empowered to exercise existing statutory functions vested in various agencies.

The envisioned institution would integrate the functions of asset recovery and management under one roof and would ideally be established as a body corporate with perpetual succession, enhancing its operational independence. Its permanent nature would facilitate long-term planning, sustainability, and skills development.

In this regard, an Ad-Hoc Committee has been convened to draft a framework detailing the structure of the proposed inter-agency institution, as well as to establish its powers, functions, and mandate. The enabling Bill, to be titled the “Criminal Assets Recovery Act,” encompasses all necessary legislative provisions to support the agency’s powers, functions, and mandate.

The objectives of the proposed institution are to: (a) Identify assets, wherever located, reasonably suspected to have been derived directly or indirectly from criminal activities. (b) Take appropriate legal action to deprive individuals of assets reasonably suspected to have been derived from criminal activities or the benefits thereof, in whole or in part, as deemed appropriate. (c) Conduct investigations or other preparatory work related to proceedings arising from the aforementioned objectives.

In his opening remarks at the five days second stage drafting retreat, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who is also the head of the Inter-agency  Framework comprised of twenty 21 Law Enforcement Agencies, underscored the resolve to ensure that there is legislative cover actualising the intention of having a modernised effective regime of asset management. The DPP urged the Ad-Hoc Committee to ensure that the undertaking must work, it should work and will work.