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2. Interpretation

“Agency” means the Integrity Reporting Services Agency established under section 4(1);


“unexplained wealth” includes any property –

under the ownership of a person to an extent which is disproportionate to his emoluments and other income;
the ownership, possession, custody or control of which cannot be satisfactorily accounted for by the person who owns, possesses, has custody or control of the property; or
held by a person for another person to an extent which is disproportionate to the emoluments or other income of that other person;

“Unexplained Wealth Order” means an order issued under section 16 for confiscation of property.


3. Application of Act
...

(2) This Act shall apply to the property of citizens of Mauritius


(5) Any application made under this Act shall constitute civil proceedings and the onus shall lie on the respondent to establish, on a balance of probabilities, that any property is not unexplained wealth.

(6) This Act shall not apply to –

any property acquired or having come in the possession or under the custody or control of a person more than 7 years before the commencement of the Act;
unexplained wealth of less than 10 million rupees, other than to unexplained wealth of at least 2.5 million rupees in cash which has been seized by an enforcement authority during a criminal investigation.

(7) No application for an Unexplained Wealth Order shall be made under section 14 in relation to any property acquired or having come in the possession or under the custody or control of a person more than 7 years before the date on which a request under section 5 (1)(a) is made.


5. Powers of Agency

(1)
On receipt of a report under section 9(1) or (2), or on its own initiative, the Agency may, in writing, request any person to explain, by way of affidavit within 21 working days or any such longer period which the Director may determine, the source of any funds which the person owns, possesses, has custody or control of, or which are believed to have been used in the acquisition of any property.
Where the Agency does not receive a reply within the period specified in paragraph (a), it shall apply for a disclosure order under section 13.

(2) The Agency shall, after making such enquiry as it may determine following a request made under subsection (1)(a), report the matter to the Board.

(3) Where the Agency has reported a matter to the Board, it shall not initiate any action in respect of that matter, unless directed by the Board.


7. Integrity Reporting Board

(1) There shall be an independent and impartial Integrity Reporting Board which shall consist of –

a Chairperson, who shall be a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of Mauritius or of any other Commonwealth State, to be appointed by the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister; and
2 other members who shall be persons having sufficient knowledge and experience in the field of law, accountancy, finance, financial services, public administration, economics or fraud detection, to be appointed by the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister, for a period of 3 years and on such terms and conditions as the President may determine.

(2) The Board shall meet as often as is necessary but, where possible, not less than once every month and at such time and place as the Chairperson may determine.

(3) Any member who –

has any direct or indirect financial interest in any matter to be considered by the Board shall, immediately after the relevant facts have come to his knowledge, disclose in writing the nature of the interest to the Minister and shall not be present during any deliberation, or take part in any decision, of the Board with respect to that matter;
has or acquires, in any enterprise in Mauritius or elsewhere, any direct or indirect financial interest in any matter which arises before the Board, shall inform the Minister in writing of such fact.

8. Functions of Board

(1) The functions of the Board shall be, where a report has been made to it pursuant to section 5(2), to determine –

whether an application for an Unexplained Wealth Order shall be made;
what further action, if any, shall be taken in respect of the report; and
whether any person deserves a reward and the quantum thereof.

(2) Notwithstanding any other enactment, the Board –

shall, in case of concurrent jurisdiction with an enforcement authority, prevail in relation to any action relating to the confiscation of property;
may request from an enforcement authority any information it considers relevant for the purposes of discharging its duties under this Act;
may call from any person for the communication or production of any relevant record, document or article.

(3) Any person who receives a request under subsection (2)(b) or (c) shall, within 14 days, comply with the request.

(4) Where an enforcement authority has already instituted any proceedings in connection with the confiscation of property, the Board may, after consultation with the enforcement authority –

request the enforcement authority to stay action;
direct the Agency to institute action for the confiscation of property pursuant to this Act.

(5)

Subject to paragraph (b), where suspected unexplained wealth is the subject of concurrent reports to an enforcement authority, the Board may, after consultation with the enforcement authority, direct the Agency to initiate action on the report to the exclusion of other bodies.
Where the Board determines that the report submitted by the Agency discloses reliable evidence of underlying criminal activity, it shall refer the matter to the relevant enforcement authority.
Where the Board determines that the Agency shall initiate action on the complaint, no further action for the confiscation of property shall be taken thereon by an enforcement authority.


9. Duty to report unexplained wealth

(1) Notwithstanding any duty of confidentiality or any other provision under any other enactment, where, in the exercise of his functions –

the Commissioner of Police;
a judicial officer;
the Ombudsman;
the Director of Audit;
the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit;
the Director-General of the Independent Commission Against Corruption;
the Director-General of the Mauritius Revenue Authority;
the Governor of the Bank of Mauritius;
an integrity reporting officer nominated by a public interest entity; or
an officer of a statutory corporation, or body corporate, has reasonable ground to suspect that a person has acquired unexplained wealth, he shall make a written report of the matter to the Agency.

(2) Where any other person has reasonable ground to suspect that a person has acquired unexplained wealth, he may make a written report of the matter to the Agency.

(3) Any person who makes a report under subsection (1) or (2) shall, as far as is reasonably possible, assist the Director in any enquiry which he may conduct in relation to the matter disclosed.


13. Disclosure order

The Agency may apply, in relation to a suspected case of unexplained wealth, to the Judge in Chambers for a disclosure order –

to obtain information on property held by a person or by any other person on his behalf; or
requiring any person to disclose the sources of funds used to acquire, possess or control any property.

14. Application for Unexplained Wealth Order

(1) Where the Board has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has unexplained wealth, it shall direct the Agency to apply to a Judge in Chambers for an Unexplained Wealth Order for the confiscation of that unexplained wealth.

(2) The Agency may amend an application for an Unexplained Wealth Order at any time before the final determination of the application by the Judge in Chambers where reasonable notice of the amendment is given to every person on whom the application has been served.

(3) Where an application is made under subsection (1), the Agency may apply for an order prohibiting the transfer, pledging or disposal of any property.

15. Service of application

(1) Where the Agency makes an application for an Unexplained Wealth Order, it shall serve a copy of the application on the respondent and such other person as the Judge in Chambers may direct.

(2) The absence of the respondent, or of any other person on whom service has been effected, shall not prevent the Judge in Chambers from making an Unexplained Wealth Order in his absence.

16. Unexplained Wealth Order

(1) Where the Agency makes an application –

for an Unexplained Wealth Order;

and the Judge in Chambers is satisfied that the respondent has unexplained wealth, he shall make an Unexplained Wealth Order or an order for the payment of its monetary equivalent.

(2) Where the Judge in Chambers considers that an application for an order under subsection (1) cannot be granted on the basis of affidavit evidence, he shall refer the matter to the Supreme Court.

17. Realisation of property

(1) Where an Unexplained Wealth Order is made and the order is not subject to an appeal, nor discharged, the property recovered and confiscated shall vest in the Agency.

(2) The Agency shall appoint a liquidator to realise any confiscated property.

18. General Fund

(1) The Agency shall establish a General Fund into which shall be paid all sums received from the Consolidated Fund and any such source as the Minister may approve.

(2) The Agency may charge to the General Fund all remunerations, allowances, salaries, grants, fees, pensions, gratuities, working expenses, and all other charges properly arising, including any necessary capital expenditure.

(3) The Agency shall, not later than 3 months before the commencement of each financial year, submit to the Minister, for approval, an estimate of its income and expenditure for that financial year.


Type: Civil Illicit Enrichment Laws

Last update on LEARN: Thursday, 3 March 2022, 1:00 PM