Those of us involved in corruption investigations and asset recovery know how important it is to gain fresh perspectives, contribute to international policy discussions, learn from others in the field and hopefully help them, too. In this spirit I am happy to share my experience from attending the 7th Session of the Conference of the States Parties (COSP) in Vienna in November 2017.Held every two years, the five-day Conference is the main policy-making body of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). I was invited to attend this important event in my role as Director General of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) of Malawi.
The Lausanne Process consists of seminars (Lausanne seminars) addressed to practitioners in the field of asset recovery. Switzerland has been hosting them regularly since 2001. Experience has shown that close cooperation between the countries involved, particularly at the judicial level, that is at the stage of mutual legal assistance, is of key importance for the successful restitution of such funds. The Lausanne seminars are intended to transfer practical knowledge and to help strengthen international cooperation and coordination between requesting and requested states.
Well firstly there needs to be the desire, both in terms of public consensus as well as at governmental level, though some could argue these should be one and the same in an ideal world. Subsequently, the rule of law underlines the principles of a democratic government and there is no scope, in most cases, to deviate from the law, however damning the circumstances might be.
Legal interpretation does not always have much in common with public perception that the government is not doing enough to combat corruption; the accused persons or entities are entitled to defend themselves and in a common law country, like Kenya, the burden of proof lies upon the prosecution to demonstrate guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.