Asset forfeiture Unit
The Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority is a creature of statute by virtue of 27A (4) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act Chapter. The Asset Forfeiture Unit is generally known as the AFU.
The Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act provides that the AFU shall work hand in hand with the Zimbabwe Police Service, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the Financial Intelligence Unit of the RBZ and other supervisory, regulatory or investigative authorities for purposes of facilitating the tracing, identification, recovery, seizure or confiscation of proceeds of crime.
The AFU may also cooperate with foreign agencies, or investigative authorities as well as regional and international organisations to trace, identify, recover, seize or confiscate proceeds of crime, whether in relation to offences committed in Zimbabwe or elsewhere. This means that the AFU has very wide reach and can recover assets from other jurisdictions.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) was created to enable the unlawful proceeds of all serious crimes and terrorist acts to be identified, traced, frozen, seized and eventually confiscated.
In criminal law based forfeiture, the State seizes property after obtaining a conviction, as part of the accused’s sentence or upon a separate application. When applying for the seizure of assets, the AFU, is required to prove a direct link between the assets in question and the alleged criminality.
In cases involving civil forfeiture, a criminal charge or conviction is not needed. The State only needs to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was used to facilitate a crime or is tainted property or terrorist property
All the money that is seized by the AFU is deposited into the Recovered Asset Fund at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Any other property that is seized by the AFU such as vehicles, houses, land etc is lodged with the Asset Management Unit.
Money laundering is the illegal process of making large amounts of money amassed or generated through criminal conduct, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, appear to have come from a legitimate source. The money from the criminal activity is considered to be dirty money, and the process “launders” it to make it look clean/legitimate.
The AFU provides mutual legal assistance to foreign states seeking the tracing, identification, freezing and confiscation of property under the Money Laundering Act and foreign anti-money-laundering laws.
The AFU is also responsible for instituting legal action to identify, seize and effectively recover property that is considered to be the instrumentalities or proceeds of crime under any law other than the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act.