Forfeiture of Criminally Acquired Property in Tanzania: Some Reflections on Historical and Socio-Economic Factors

Abdulrahman O.J. Kaniki


Forfeiture of criminally acquired property, popularly known as asset recovery, is considered to be an effective mechanism of addressing serious and organised crime within national boundaries and across international frontiers. When carried out as expected, the mechanism has an impact of depriving criminals of their ill-gotten wealth thereby striking them at a point where it hurts most. Tanzania has a legal and institutional framework that deals with forfeiture of criminally acquired assets. However, having this framework is one thing and letting it to operate is another thing altogether. This paper focuses, albeit briefly, on efforts made to have a legal and institutional framework that is supportive and acts as a vehicle towards effective ill-gotten asset recovery in the country. It adopts a historical and socio-economic approach. The paper comes up with one main conclusion that despite some elaborate provisions of the law with some national and international dimensions, there is under-utilisation of the legal and institutional framework in place to deal with the issue of recovering proceeds of criminality. So far there are very few decided cases in which courts ordered forfeiture of proceeds and instrumentalities of crime. Whereas the paper attempts to outline some of the factors, which cause the under-utilisation of the framework in place, it leaves room for further studies in future on what should be done to address the situation.

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