Theft of public assets in developing countries and the ineffective legal frameworks on cross-border asset tracing and confiscation

Iheme, Williams C. (2021) Theft of public assets in developing countries and the ineffective legal frameworks on cross-border asset tracing and confiscation. Journal of Governance and Regulation, 10 (2). pp. 309-317. ISSN 22209352

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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.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Asset Tracing | Safe Haven | Law Enforcement | Litigation | Mareva Injunction | Freezing Orders | Money Laundering
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2021 14:28
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 16:26
Official URL:
Additional Information: The author thanks Dr. Linda Iheme (Vantage Migration Inc.) for providing the financial resources that enabled him to conduct this research. However, the author takes sole responsibility for any errors in the paper.


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