This month, Mr. Mor Ndiaye, Managing Director of the recently created National Criminal Assets Recovery Office (ONRAC) of Senegal, tells us more about this institution which has a key role to play in the Senegalese AML/CFT system.
In July 2021, Senegal created a National Office for the Recovery of Criminal Assets (ONRAC), which you are managing: can you explain the role and missions of this institution?
The ONRAC, a public administrative institution under the administrative supervision of the Ministry of Justice and the financial supervision of the Ministry of Finance and Budget, was created by Act No. 2021-34 of July 23, 2021, amending Act No. 65-61 of July 21, 1965, on the Code of Criminal Procedure. Decree n°2021-1064 of August 11, 2021 sets the rules of organization and operation. The role of the Office is to contribute to the efficiency of public action by improving the management of seized assets in the context of criminal proceedings and to reinforce the effectiveness of criminal sanctions, in particular the complementary penalty of confiscation.
The Office’s missions are essentially:
the management of all property seized, confiscated or subject to a protective measure in the course of criminal proceedings which are entrusted to the Office and which require, for their preservation or enhancement, acts of administration;
the collection and management of sums of money subject to bail in criminal matters;
the centralized management of all sums seized during criminal proceedings;
the disposal or destruction of the property it has been entrusted to manage;
the compensation of victims from the confiscated property of their debtors.
Why was the creation of this Office crucial for the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in Senegal?
Certainly, the establishment of this Office is a major step forward, highly appreciated by the evaluators of our national anti-money laundering and terrorism financing system, namely the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
The office was the missing link in Senegal’s AML/CFT system. With the new regime of seizures and confiscations, the principle that crime shall never pay will be translated into concrete actions and delinquents or criminals will no longer be able to benefit from the assets resulting from their prohibited behavior and actions.
The lack of a dedicated mechanism for the management of seizures and confiscations of criminal assets, a shortcoming that was identified by the FATF ICRG1, has now been remedied with the creation of ONRAC. The body has become operational with a staff, to date, of fourteen agents. A national tour, which I initiated with my team, was carried out from June 6 to 16, 2022 to meet with the various judicial authorities of the six Courts of Appeal and the High Courts throughout the territory. This tour led us, after Dakar, to Ziguinchor, Tambacounda, Kaolack, Fatick, Thiès and Saint -Louis.
This tour, which consisted of courtesy visits, exchanges and presentation of the new structure and its missions as well as the identification of areas of collaboration, was part of the popularization and operationalization of the Office. Previously, in the same vein, I had initiated different meetings with the general directions of the Taxes and Domains, the Public Accounts and the Treasury, the Deposit and Consignment Office, the National Police, the High Commander of the Gendarmerie, the Military Justice, the FIU, the National Office for the Fight against Fraud and Corruption and different banking establishments of the place.
From July 18 to 22, 2022, ONRAC will organize, in partnership with the OCWAR-M project, a national seminar on seizures and confiscations for Senegalese investigative and judicial authorities with the participation of international experts.
The OCWAR-M project accompanies you in the operationalization of the National Criminal Assets Recovery Office: can you tell us about this accompaniment, and what it brings to this institution?
The OCWAR-M project has been a privileged partner of ONRAC since its genesis. Even before the creation of ONRAC, OCWAR–M had developed, as part of its activity to strengthen the AML/CFT criminal chain in Senegal, an action plan that included the support to the creation and operationalization of the Office. Thus, the OCWAR-M project facilitated technical exchange visits to France last March, in order to allow relevant stakeholders to develop deep relations that will continue during the development of ONRAC’s activities: promotion of seizure, sensitization and training of all judicial and extra-judicial actors concerned with the seizure and recovery of criminal assets, whether funds or property, movable or immovable. During this visit, I met with my counterpart from the Agency for the Management and Recovery of Seized and Confiscated Assets (AGRASC) Nicolas BESSONE and his team, with the Platform for the Identification of Criminal Assets (PIAC), and of course with the National Financial Prosecutor (PNF), the judges, investigators and prosecutors of the Financial Pole of the Paris Judicial Court and the Directorate of European and International Affairs (DAEI) of the French Ministry of Justice. It was also agreed that a team from ONRAC would visit AGRASC for an immersion in the various departments of this agency that has already capitalized on eleven years of experience since its creation in 2010.
1 The FATF‘s International Cooperation Review Group identifies countries with particular AML/CFT deficiencies.