Asset Forfeiture Unit
"Taking the profit out of crime"
Introduction and Mandate
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) was established in May 1999 in the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to focus on the implementation of Chapters 5 and 6 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 1998(Act No. 121 of 1998.)(POCA). The AFU was created in order to ensure that the powers in the Act to seize criminal assets would be used to their maximum effect in the fight against crime, and particularly, organised crime.
Key Objectives and Achievements
The AFU has set itself a number of key strategic objectives, namely—
a. to develop the law by taking test cases to court and creating the legal precedents that are necessary to allow the effective use of the law;
b. to build the capacity to ensure that asset forfeiture is used as widely as possible to make a real impact in the fight against crime;
c. to make an impact on selected categories of priority crimes;
d. to establish a national presence;
e. to establish excellent relationships with its key partners, especially the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the South African Revenue Service (SARS); and
f. to build the AFU into a professional and representative organisation.
Establishing a good jurisprudence
When the AFU started, international experts warned that it should expect much litigation from rich and powerful criminals who are desperate to hang on to their ill-gotten gains and who can afford to employ the best legal brains in the country to try to find any possible weakness or lack of clarity in the law or exploit technicalities in existing civil procedure. This has indeed proved to be the case and the AFU has been involved in intensive litigation since its inception.
The AFU - Taking The Profit Out of Crime