Sierra Leone

The categorisation of this law as a ‘Criminal Illicit Enrichment Law’ may not be accurate depending on whether the definition of ‘unexplained wealth’ in Section 1 is taken into account by the court for a proceeding under Section 27, and if it is, whether the state is required to justify the ‘allegation’ required by Section 1. If the court does take into account the definition in Section 1, and the state needs to justify this allegation to a certain threshold, then this law should instead be categorised as a ‘Qualified Criminal Illicit Enrichment Law’.

1. Interpretation

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires –

“unexplained wealth” includes assets of a person –

acquired at or around the time the person is alleged to have committed an act of corruption or economic crime; and
whose value is disproportionate to his lawful sources of income at or around that time and for which there is no reasonable or satisfactory explanation

27. Possession of unexplained wealth

(1) Any person who, being or having been a public officer –

maintains a standard of living above that which is commensurate with his present or past official emoluments; or
is in control of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his present or past official emoluments,

unless he gives a satisfactory explanation to the court as to how he was able to maintain such a standard of living or how such pecuniary resources or property came under his control, commits an offence.

(2) Where the court is satisfied in proceedings for an offence under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) that, having regard to the closeness of his relationship to the accused and to other circumstances, there is reason to believe that any person was holding pecuniary resources or property in trust for or otherwise on behalf of the accused or acquired such resources or property as a gift from the accused, such resources or property shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed to have been in the control of the accused.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than thirty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(4) In addition to any penalty imposed under subsection (3), the court may order a person convicted of an offence under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) to pay into the Consolidated Fund –

a sum not exceeding the amount of the pecuniary resources; or
a sum not exceeding the value of the property,

the acquisition by him of which was not explained to the satisfaction of the Court.

(5) An order under subsection (4) may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment of the High Court in its civil jurisdiction.

(6) In this section, "official emoluments” includes a pension or gratuity payable under the National Social Security and Insurance Trust Act, 2001.

Type: Criminal Illicit Enrichment Laws

Last update on LEARN: 3 Mar 2022