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National Assembly

In the National Assembly   MNAs vote for mutual assistance to better fight international crimes |07 April 2022

As criminals around the world get more clever and experienced and crimes become more sophisticated and difficult to detect, there is a need to modernise related laws to better address the modern day challenges.

Hence the presentation before the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon by Vice-President Ahmed Afif of the draft of the proposed law being presented as the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2022 to be discussed and considered by parliament.

After an afternoon of lengthy debates, disagreement on certain points, clarifications sought, members approved the Bill by voting 21 for, non against while nine members abstained.

In his presentation of the Bill, Vice-President Ahmed Afif explained that it is a very important one as it aims to replace the existing law which has to do with legal assistance in criminal matters which dates back to 1995.

“Different criminal activities which affected the world in 1995 were completely different from those that exist today. Unfortunately the likes of organised crimes, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and the challenges associated with tracing virtual resources are the new realities and a big problem that not only Seychelles is trying to address. As criminals become cleverer and experienced especially those who exploit our financial sector, it is becoming more difficult for agencies which apply and reinforce the law across the world to gather evidence,” VP Afif pointed out.

He noted that in view of the current challenges there is therefore the need for a more modern and effective law which would ease international cooperation between Seychelles and other countries which is crucial in strengthening our efforts and that of other states to fight serious crimes.

VP Afif went on to explain that mutual assistance in criminal matters is a formal process used by countries around the world to assist each other in investigations and prosecutions of severe criminal offences which could be punished with prison sentences of 12 months or more.

Among the key provisions of the new proposed law is that Section 5 of its first part clearly states that no extradition of any individuals to be tried in another country would be authorised.

Another key provision in part 2 of the new law relates to requests that Seychelles can submit to other countries for assistance in criminal matters. The requests would be made through the department of foreign affairs, the Attorney General’s office or any other authority that the president would authorise. VP Afif further highlighted that Section 17 of the Bill provides for the Attorney General to make other requests to those countries.

“This is very important considering differences in the legal structure of the countries as well as future developments in the laws that provide for such assistance,” VP Afif remarked.

Part 3 of the Bill relates to the requests that other countries can submit to the Seychelles authorities for assistance in criminal matters. These include collecting evidence in Seychelles, to serve a document on an individual in Seychelles, to carry out a court order issued in another country to confiscate a property in relation to serious crimes.

VP Afif noted that the proposed law would facilitate international assistance in criminal matters and it would be an essential tool in the fight against criminal activities.

The  new proposed law  has  received the support of  several  bodies  such  as  the  Review  Group  on  the  Implementation  of  the  United  Nations  Conventions  Against  Corruption, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, legal committees under the Southern  African  Development  Community (SADC),  the  Eastern  and  Southern  Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group  and the Attorney General Chambers. Additionally the government of Seychelles in 2019 sought  assistance  from the European Union. 


Marie-Anne Lepathy



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