Within the context of the UNICRI project to assist Arab Spring countries on the recovery of assets linked to corruption and other forms of serious crime a two-day conference (11-12 September) was held in Tunis (Tunisia).
The aim of the meeting was to continue to foster political and technical will to adopt non-penal mechanisms to freeze, seize and confiscate assets.
The conference, attended by officials from Egypt, Libya and Tunisia – and supported by asset recovery experts from multiple jurisdictions, including Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom (as well as from UNICRI) – represented an important opportunity to identify the latest non-penal measures used by many jurisdictions to confiscate illegally-obtained assets, and contributed to the much-needed discussion on laws that may need to be adopted or modified across North Africa. This includes, for example, legal frameworks to strengthen the involvement of taxing authorities to verify taxable income, regardless of whether that income is derived from legal or illegal sources; or to confiscate assets of public officials whose actual wealth is significantly greater than that which he or she has publicly declared.
The event also served to provide recommendations for inputs into Tunisia’s draft law on civil confiscation; this law, expected to be reviewed by the Tunisian Parliament in late 2019 and early 2020, would be the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa Region.