The laws bordering on confiscation of assets in many foreign countries (safe havens) seem intentionally designed to frustrate any recovery of stolen assets by developing countries, says the author.
Williams C Iheme, Associate Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.
In most developing countries with weak rule of law and fledgling democratic institutions, theft of public assets by public office holders is rampant and has a strong correlation with the excruciating level of poverty and underdevelopment that besiege these countries (Ijewereme, 2013).
While a myriad number of reasons may be responsible for this situation, the absence of a mature legal framework as well as the scant availability of sufficiently trained government personnel to trace and recover stolen assets, hidden domestically and abroad, arguably remain contributory factors.
Granted that corrupt public office holders are typically enabled by porous (domestic) legal frameworks that provide them wide escape routes for their crimes, contestably however, the laws bordering on confiscation of assets in many foreign countries (safe havens) seem intentionally designed to frustrate any recovery of stolen assets by developing countries.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of stealing public assets by public office holders in developing countries is foreseen to rise astronomically and is likely to deepen their existing levels of poverty and hopelessness (Ayode, 2020).
Using Nigeria as an example of a developing country, the paper critically examines the underlying defects in the cross-border legal framework on asset recovery and confiscation and proffers suggestions on how these defects could be remedied.
Published in: Journal of Governance and Regulation
To read the full article, please click here.