chapter  10
24 Pages

Corruption, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (‘UNCAC’) and Asset Recovery

Soon after the civil uprising in Egypt and other North African states (‘the Arab Spring’), there were widespread calls to return the assets of the deposed and departing political elites that had been obtained through corrupt activities and which were located in foreign jurisdictions. The demand for the return of these assets to the state of origin, the victim of the illicit activities of the political elites, is neither shocking nor surprising. It is in keeping with a fundamental legal principle that ‘no man shall profit from his wrongdoing’.1 And the victims of such large scale corruption and embezzlement of a state’s wealth are the countless citizens of the state who live in abject poverty and eke out a miserable existence in inhumane conditions. As the US Attorney General Eric Holder observed: ‘When kleptocrats loot their nations’ treasuries, steal natural resources, and embezzle development aid, they condemn their nations’ children to starvation and disease. In the face of this manifest injustice, asset recovery is a global imperative.’2