Experts have called for a clearly defined legal strategy and reforms aimed at tackling cases of unexplained wealth and financial crimes.
Nicholas Ryder, a professor of Law at the University of the West of England, said at the just concluded virtual conversation organised by Global South Dialogue on Economic Crime (GSDEC) that the lack of a proper legal strategy for financial crimes is one of the reasons governments find it difficult to deal with the complex nature of unexplained wealth.
Delivering a keynote speech on the topic ‘Does the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 go far enough?’ Ryder said that lack of regulatory independence and government interference are some of the challenges bedeviling the enforcement of existing regulations on financial crimes and unexplained wealth.
According to him, in countries where these instruments exist, there are issues with institutional capacity in terms of training, know-how, and under-funding of law enforcement.
“To overcome these challenges, there is a need for international cooperation, cross-border training and knowledge sharing, better accountability in governance, having a clearly defined strategy on financial crimes, more effective and adequate legislations to deal head-on with the issue,” he said.
Ryder also pointed out the need to use the civil procedure against criminal action to deal with perpetrators of financial crimes.
Folashade Adeyemo, a lecturer in Law at the University of Reading, who hosted the conversation, said the issue of unexplained wealth must be tackled as a matter of urgency if the government wants to stamp down on corruption in the Global South region.
Adeyemo, spoke on the theme ‘Unexplained Wealth: A Global Perspective’.
Other speakers examined the regulatory and legal frameworks on unexplained wealth in African and non-African countries and considered practical measures, which can be instrumental to stamping down on corruption and tackling the larger issue of financial and economic crime.
The discussion also centred on problems emerging from the use of unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) in the property sector; compatibility of illicit enrichment laws with established legal rights; the strengthening of legal architecture for confronting financial crimes; benefits to criminal justice systems from the use of UWOs and other matters as they relate to Unexplained Wealth Orders.