Anti-corruption, stolen asset recovery and civil society engagement in Burundi, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.
As cross-border corruption cases continue to make headlines, civil society organisations increasingly put pressure on governments across the world to take action to prevent the flows of illicit finance and take steps towards the recovery of stolen assets.
CiFAR has looked at legislation and practice related to the recovery of stolen assets, including civil society activity, in five countries in East and Southern Africa: Burundi, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. These are countries with growing interest in asset recovery, several of which have engaged in cross-border cases.
Each country report identifies relevant laws; key authorities involved; the biggest grand corruption and money laundering cases, including those with a cross-border element; the extent of the involvement of governments in international asset recovery frameworks and networks, such as asset recovery inter-agency networks; and the activity of and operational framework related to civil society.
Each report also makes recommendations for urgent policy reform to advance asset recovery and the fight against IFFs and strengthening the role of civil society in this process.
Moreover, building on the lessons from each country, a regional comparative study compares the national legislative and practical efforts in asset recovery and highlights cross-regional and sub-regional activities of governments.
Key findings include that new legislative developments have increased the opportunities to recover stolen assets in East and Southern Africa, including non-conviction-based forfeiture (NCBF) laws that facilitate asset recovery by making use of civil proceedings. However several legislative frameworks and policies require further improvements, especially regarding access to information about past and ongoing cases, and systems for managing recovered assets, which are often not tailored to the types of assets found in corruption cases. While civil society has been increasingly engaged in asset recovery discussions across the region, collaboration between civil society and government is also often challenging. For civil society, a lack of financial resources and cooperation with CSOs in other countries is a further barrier to greater engagement.
Recommendations coming out of our research include:
- Efforts should be made to adopt legislation on asset recovery in accordance with international standards.
- Access to information related to asset recovery, including past and ongoing cases, should be provided to enable citizen and civil society engagement
- The independence, resourcing, coordination, and transnational cooperation of asset recovery agencies should be strengthened.
- Frameworks for the management of recovered assets that comply with international standards and best practice should be established.
- Operating environments for civil society engagement should be protected and strengthened.
Download the reports
ASSET RECOVERY FRAMEWORKS, PRACTICE AND THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
ANTI-CORRUPTION, STOLEN ASSET RECOVERY AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN BURUNDI
ANTI-CORRUPTION, STOLEN ASSET RECOVERY AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN BURUNDI (FR)
ANTI-CORRUPTION, STOLEN ASSET RECOVERY AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN ETHIOPIA
ANTI-CORRUPTION, STOLEN ASSET RECOVERY AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN SOUTH AFRICA
ANTI-CORRUPTION, STOLEN ASSET RECOVERY AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN UGANDA
ANTI-CORRUPTION, STOLEN ASSET RECOVERY AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN ZAMBIA