Honourable Ministers,

Principal Secretaries,

National Commissioner of Police

Attorney General

Director of Public Prosecutions

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Eswatini, Ms Nathalie Ndongo-Seh

Regional Representative United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Southern Africa, Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva

Advisor of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr Fitz-Roy Drayton

Commissioner General of Eswatini Revenue Authority

Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission

Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit

Senior Government Officials

Members of the media

Good morning

May I take this opportunity to welcome our visiting guests to the Kingdom of Eswatini and all present here to the Cabinet offices.

I am happy and honoured to be part of this historic occasion which marks the first meeting of the Asset Recovery Committee established following the passing of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) by Parliament in August last year.

Today we are also witnessing the signing of the Dar es Salaam Declaration on Strengthening Asset Forfeiture for Development. 

We will recall that POCA was enacted in compliance with Conventions signed by the country in its fight against corruption and organized crime. Indeed, the passing of POCA marked a new era in the fight against corruption and organized crime in the Kingdom of Eswatini. Early this year the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs established the Asset Recovery Fund where all money received from asset recovery processes will be deposited.

POCA is a statute that cuts across the spectrum on asset forfeiture and enables the Kingdom to comply with international instruments such as: The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988 (Vienna Convention) and The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the TOC Convention) formally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in November 2000 and signed by the Kingdom of Eswatini in the same year.

The Kingdom signed The United Nations Convention against Corruption in September 2012.

It is therefore imperative at national and international level that the country intensifies efforts to combat serious, organized and other transnational offences.

The most important and vital element of curbing this web of crime is to deprive criminals of the benefits derived from criminal activity.

Our commitment to fighting all manner and forms of criminality is unyielding. Criminals are always finding innovative ways of evading arrest and prosecution and we need to stay ahead. May I warn them to desist from their illicit ways failure to which there will be no compromises and they will face the full wrath of the law.

Government remains determined to fight corruption and all its remnants. We continue to appeal to the public to help our law enforcement agencies identify and isolate criminals and all those engaged or associated with corruption. ‘Nawe uliphoyisa’.

Proceeds of any criminal activity will be traced and forfeited to the State. As a country we cannot afford to lose any cent through crime and corruption if we are to fulfill our goal of economic transformation and development.

His Majesty’s Government is grateful to our partners; the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Assets Recovery Network of Southern Africa (ARINSA) and others for their assistance in ensuring that this mandate of fighting organised crime and corruption is fulfilled.

We appreciate the healthy relationship we enjoy with all our international friends and partners, and this occasion of the signing of the Declaration shows our commitment to put every effort in curbing the scourge of crime in all its forms and manner.

Government will continue to support all moves to fight criminality and will provide the necessary resources at our disposal to keep crime and corruption out of our society and enable the country to prosper and maintain peace and stability.

Thank you.

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