The use of asset forfeiture as an effective tool in the fight agaisnt corruption

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Chiboola, Desmond Chilala
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Zambia is ranked 111th in the 2006 TI corruption perception index. Corruption in Zambia is herefore one of the major causes of poverty and the biggest impediment to development and rational prosperity and threatens to derail achievement of the U.N Millennium Development goals (MDG. As an insidious plague ,it has pivotal and multifaceted range of corrosive effects on society .It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights ,distorts markets erodes the quality of life and fosters the growth of organized crime and threatens the future generation. The world is involved in a flurry of activities aimed at fighting the scourge which admittedly has flourished in most African states where it has been identified as the key cause of economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development. Key to the sustainable fight against corruption is the need to develop an efficient and robust anti corruption strategy which addresses the root cause of corruption .Most African states have adopted the traditional approach of fighting corruption namely investigations ,education and prevention which strategies have lamentably failed . Most of these strategies are weak and fragmented and in recognition of the need for a common platform for the anti corruption movement in Africa, homegrown anti corruption effects are being encouraged through the introduction of international instruments which introduces a comprehensive set of standards ,measures and rules that all countries can apply in order to strengthen their legal and regulatory regimes to fight corruption .The major breakthrough of the instrument is the requirement of member states to return illegally obtained assets to the countries of origin. Zambia like many other African countries has weak legal and institutional framework of asset tracing, seizure and subsequent forfeiture. This loophole has been exploited to the fullest by criminals ,the majority of whom are public functionaries , to invest their illegitimately obtained wealth in property which has remained insulated from seizure despite some of the officials being indicted for corruption and other allied offences . This research paper therefore looks at the use of asset forfeiture as an effective means of fighting corruption in contrast to the traditional approach. The fight against corruption should not be static in relation to the dynamic nature of corruption but should be kept abreast. The paper will
Forfeiture , Lapse(law)