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Civil Forfeiture of Criminal Property

Legal Measures for Targeting the Proceeds of Crime

Edited by Simon N.M. Young

In this book, which is the first of its kind, leading experts examine the civil and criminal forfeiture systems in Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the fight against organized crime and international money laundering, there is a global trend for countries to enact forfeiture and confiscation laws that are applied through the civil process rather than the traditional criminal justice system. The authors gathered here analyze the appeal these civil forfeiture laws have for governments for their potential to disrupt criminal organizations and for their quantifiable benefits to the state. But without the usual safeguards of the criminal process, civil forfeiture laws are controversial, attracting constitutional challenges, particularly on human rights grounds.
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Chapter 4: Asset Forfeiture in South Africa under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998

Raylene Keightley


Raylene Keightley* INTRODUCTION Civil asset forfeiture has been on the statute books in South Africa for approximately 15 years.1 A narrow form of civil asset forfeiture was first introduced in 1992. Initially, under the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act (No. 140 of 1992), a conviction-based scheme of civil forfeiture applied in respect of benefits derived by persons convicted of drug trafficking offences.2 This regime was The views expressed in this chapter are my personal views. I use the term ‘civil asset forfeiture’ in this chapter to refer to asset forfeiture that is implemented by way of a civil legal process which, although it may sometimes operate in parallel with criminal proceedings, has been introduced into the law as an additional law enforcement measure and is not primarily penal in nature. Therefore, I include under consideration the scheme of asset forfeiture which is commonly referred to in South Africa as ‘criminal forfeiture’, i.e. asset forfeiture which is aimed at stripping convicted persons of the benefit they have derived from their crimes. 2 Chapter 5 of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act (No. 140 of 1992), which chapter was repealed by s. 37 of the Proceeds of Crime Act (No. 76 of 1996). A conviction-based form of forfeiture is retained in the amended Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act. Section 25 provides that a court convicting an accused person of an offence under the Act shall declare forfeit any scheduled substance, drug or property by means of which the offence was committed or...

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