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Trinidad and Tobago


Part V. Unexplained Wealth Orders

58. Application for Order for a declaration

(1) Where the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, the Comptroller of Customs and Excise or the Commissioner of Police or such other person delegated by him not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent (hereinafter referred to as “the applicant”) during the course of an investigation for a specified offence reasonably suspects that—

the total wealth of the respondent exceeds the value of his lawfully obtained wealth;
the total wealth of the respondent is over five hundred thousand dollars;
the property is owned by the respondent or is under his effective control; and
the property was obtained through the commission of a specified offence,

he may apply to the High Court in writing for an order (“in this Part hereinafter referred to as a Preliminary Unexplained Wealth Order”), requiring the respondent to file a declaration and answer questions as required in relation to his assets.

(2) An application under subsection (1) shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating—

the identity of the respondent;
the grounds by which the applicant reasonably suspects that the total wealth of the respondent exceeds the value of his lawfully obtained wealth; and
the grounds by which the applicant reasonably suspects that any property is owned by the respondent or is under his effective control.

(3) An application under subsection (1) may be made ex parte.

59. Form of declaration Schedule 2

(1) A declaration under section 58(1) shall be in the form set out as Form 1 in Schedule 2.

(2) All documents filed in the High Court under Section 58 (1) shall be filed under seal.

60. False declaration

A person who knowingly and wilfully makes a statement which is false in any material particular on the declaration form under section 58 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars and to imprisonment of twenty years.

61. Grant of a Preliminary Unexplained Wealth Order

(1) Where the High Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the total wealth of the respondent exceeds the value of his wealth that was lawfully obtained, it may make a Preliminary Unexplained Wealth Order, requiring the respondent to file a declaration and appear before the High Court to answer questions relative to his assets for the High Court to decide whether to make an Unexplained Wealth Order.

(2) Where a Preliminary Unexplained Wealth Order has been made under this section, a notice of the making of the order shall be served on the respondent within 7 days from the making of the order.

62. Application to Revoke a Preliminary Unexplained Wealth Order

(1) Where the High Court makes a Preliminary Unexplained Wealth Order under section 61, the respondent may, within twenty-eight days of notice of the order under section 61(2), apply to the High Court for the order to be set aside or discharged.


64. Application for an Unexplained Wealth Order

(1) The applicant may apply to the High Court for an Unexplained Wealth Order.

(2) An application under subsection (1) shall be accompanied by—

an affidavit setting out the reasons why an Unexplained Wealth Order should be made; and
documents in support of the application.

65. Grant of an Unexplained Wealth Order

(1) Where the High Court has made a Preliminary Unexplained Wealth Order, which has not been revoked, in relation to a respondent and on the basis of the affidavit and documents submitted and evidence provided, is satisfied that—

on a balance of probabilities that any part of the wealth of the respondent was not lawfully obtained or held;
the total wealth of the respondent is over five hundred thousand dollars; or
particular property is held by, and subject to the effective control of the respondents, it may make an Unexplained Wealth Order.

(2) It does not matter for the purposes of subsection (1)(b)—

whether or not there are other persons who also hold the property; or
whether the property was obtained by the respondent before or after the coming into force of this Act.

(3) Where the High Court makes an order under this section, the order shall specify that the respondent is liable to pay into the Seized Assets Fund an amount being the “unexplained wealth amount” of the respondent, equal to the amount that the High Court is satisfied does not represent the lawfully acquired property of the respondent.

(4) In proceedings under this section, the burden of proving the wealth of the respondent is lawfully acquired lies on the respondent.

(5) When considering the issues under sub-section (1), the High Court may have regard to information and any evidence provided subsequently not included in the Preliminary Unexplained Wealth Order.

(6) An order under subsection (1) may be enforced against the property as if the property were the property of the respondent.

(7) An order that restricts the right of the respondent or any named person to deal with the property identified in this section may be made, upon application of the applicant under section 58(1), if the High Court is satisfied that the property would not be available to the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, the Comptroller of Customs and Excise or the Commissioner of Police or such other person delegated by him not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent under section 58(1) without such restriction.

(8) When considering the amount of an Unexplained Wealth Order, the High Court shall deduct an amount equal to the value, at the time of the making of the order, of any property the respondent forfeited under a Property Restriction Order under section 34, a Civil Asset Forfeiture Order under section 45, or a Confiscation Order or Forfeiture Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

(9) The Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, the Comptroller of Customs and Excise or the Commissioner of Police or such other person delegated by him not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent under section 58(1) shall not, unless the High Court gives leave, apply for an Unexplained Wealth Order against any person if—

an application has previously been made for an Unexplained Wealth Order in relation to that person; and
the application has been finally determined on the merits.

(10) Leave shall not be granted under sub-section (9) unless the High Court is satisfied that—

the wealth to which the new application relates was identified only after the first application was determined; or
the evidence became available only after the first application was determined; and
it is in the interest of justice to give the leave.

66. Third party claims

(1) If the applicant, under section 58(1), applies for an Unexplained Wealth Order in respect of a particular property, he or it, as applicable, shall give written notice of the application to—

the respondent, who is subject to the application for the Unexplained Wealth Order; and
any other person whom he or it has reason to believe may have an interest in the property.

(2) The respondent, and any person who claims an interest in the property, may appear and adduce evidence at the hearing of the application.

67. Enforcement of Unexplained Wealth Order

(1) An amount payable by the respondent into the Seized Assets Fund under an Unexplained Wealth Order is a civil debt due by the respondent to the State.

(2) An Unexplained Wealth Order against the respondent may be enforced as if it were an order made in civil proceedings instituted by the applicant undersection 58(1) against the respondent to recover a debt due by him to the State.

(3) An Unexplained Wealth Order is for all purposes to be treated as a judgment debt.


Type: Qualified Civil Illicit Enrichment Laws

Last update on LEARN: Thursday 3 March 2022, 13:00