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Asset Recovery Investigation

In January 2016, following amendments to the Asset Recovery Act 2011 (ARA), the FIU became the Enforcement Authority (EA) and has been assigned the duties of asset recovery. The Asset Recovery Investigation Division (ARID) was set up as a department within the FIU to implement the legislation. The aim of ARID is:

a. To disrupt crime and to make Mauritius a hostile environment for criminals by the recovery of proceeds from unlawful activities;
b. To ensure that crime does not pay;
c. To help in the fight against crime and assist the victims of crimes; and
d. To take the profit out of the crime.

The FIU, through the ARID, is thus one of the five authorities in Mauritius with powers to confiscate criminal assets. On 30 October 2019, a national policy on confiscation was adopted by the Government of Mauritius. This policy has set out a common vision for all agencies involved in the confiscation of criminal assets in the country. It can be accessed at the following link:

The ARID is empowered to investigate all cases where proceeds of crime may be recovered. The ARID regularly receives referrals from the Investigatory Authorities such as the Police, ICAC, MRA, where the value of the suspected proceeds (or the value of drugs seized, as the case may be) exceeds Rs 100,000. The ARID also receives disseminations from the Financial Investigative Analysis Department of the FIU.

In Mauritius, each of the five authorities who have the power to restrain or freeze assets operate under their respective statutory framework. However, to further promote a coordinated approach and to ensure that there is clarity in relation to each authority’s powers and functions, procedures for each agency have been clearly documented and collated such that this important information may be accessed efficiently in one place. The consolidated procedures were formally approved by the National Committee on AML/CFT on 30 October 2019. The document may be accessed at the following link:

The ARID process

The process established by the ARID in fulfilling its mandate is as follows:

1. Referral of cases

The asset recovery process is launched when law enforcement authorities, namely the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Police, as well as the FIU, refer a case to the EA. This is done by the law enforcement authorities sending an Enforcement Authority Referral Form (EARF) in the name of the suspect(s) to the ARID.

2. Preliminary Enquiry

ARID’s Investigators conduct a preliminary investigation to ascertain accuracy of information provided in the referral ensuring that the right subject/s is/are being investigated as same is vital for successful confiscation/recovery of tainted asset/s.

3. Customer Information Notice

The second step usually involves the EA making a Customer Information Notice (CIN). By virtue of Section 48 of ARA 2011, the ARID may require financial and non-financial institutions (FI and NFI) to provide such customer information relating to person/s specified in the notice.

4. Disclosure and Production

If the FI and NFI state that the subject/s hold an account, the ARID may then require the FI or NFI to disclose relevant financial documents of the latter. This is called making a Disclosure and Production Notice (DPN) to the FI and NFI pursuant to Section 47 of ARA 2011.

5. In-depth Investigations

This relates to investigations carried out including analysis of the relevant financial documents and tracing of property/ies that the subject/s may own or under his control. Subsequently, statements are recorded from the subject/s.

6. Internal report

The next step involves the ARID investigator making a report to the Chief Investigating Officer who in turn submits its conclusion to the EA as to whether an application for a Judge’s Order is warranted or otherwise. The final decision rests with the EA.

7. Legal Advice

If the request to apply for an Order under the ARA is approved by the EA, the report is sent to the in-house legal practitioners (Lawyer and Attorney) for legal assistance and drafting of affidavit.

8. Application before Judge

The next step involves swearing of the affidavit by the ARID’s investigator and submitting same in support of the application to a Judge in Chambers. The Judge, after considering the application delivers his judgment where an Order can be granted or declined. When an order is granted, the EA shall give notice of the Order to any person known to have interest in the property and to such reporting person or other person as the Judge may direct. The process is the same for any extension or variation of any orders already in place.

9. Restraining/Restriction Orders

Money restrained is credited into the FIU’s Restraining/Restriction Order bank account while either other properties are restrained/restricted in the hands of the subject/s or a trustee is appointed to manage them.

10. Confiscation/Recovery Orders

Where a person is convicted of an offence or any property which has come to the notice of the EA to be proceeds or a benefit derived from an offence or any unlawful activity which the Court finds to be sufficiently related to that offence, an instrumentality or terrorist property, the EA may make an application to the Court for the grant a Confiscation/Recovery Order in respect of the property. Confiscated/Recovered sums are credited to the Recovered Assets Fund Account.

11. Discharge of Restraining Orders

Importantly, if the offender is not charged or the charge is dismissed, the order is discharged pursuant to section 16 (2) of ARA
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