Deputy Prime Minister speaks on Civil Asset Recovery and Unexplained Wealth Bill
The Government of Belize says it is sending a warning to persons who may be unable to explain how their wealth or assets have been acquired. The message comes after the Briceno Administration introduced a bill last Friday which seeks to hold persons accountable when it comes to their assets and riches. The piece of legislation, titled the Civil Asset Recovery and Unexplained Wealth Bill, has gone through its first reading and now will go to the House Committee and then to the Senate. Acting Prime Minister, Cordel Hyde, says once the bill is passed GOB will be empowered to recover assets without securing a conviction in the courts.
Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum and Mining: “As you well know over a period of time and it’s not just politicians but across the board you see people acquire all kinds of assets that they can’t really account for, that their salary really can’t justify and so this bill will empower whichever government that is in there to go after these assets if it is they feel that these people have acquired these things in an illegal kind of way. So it’s a really powerful bill because it won’t require the government to secure a conviction there may be cases, there may be times when a government cannot secure a conviction. The person may be missing or there’s not enough evidence to secure a conviction but the government has a very strong case and they feel very strongly about it and they can actually go after these assets, can actually seize the assets can actually force these persons to provide evidence that they’ve gotten these assets in a really legitimate kind of way and so it’s warning to people to be very careful, to be very careful to make sure that you can account for what you have on the ground.”
The Civil Asset Recovery and Unexplained Wealth Bill was tabled at the House of Representatives on Friday, May 19, 2023.