New proposal on the seized property under ACC

The Good Governance Committee (GGC) and Anti-CorruptionCommission (ACC) have come up with a new proposal for the seized property under ACC, and the proposal was deliberated in the National Assembly (NA) on4 July 2021.

An official from ACC said that a certain change is needed on movable property, responsibility for frozen, seized or confiscated property. It was pointed out that the seized properties under ACC remain idle, and as a result the propertiesdeteriorate and loseits value. Therefore, the proposal is to allow the properties to be used by a third party, with ACC keeping an account. As and when judgement of the court is out, even if the property needs to be given back to the owner, the value of the property can be maintained, or if the property needs to be further confiscated, the value will still be maintained.

New sub section 104 (3) states that any moveable property which is frozen, seized or confiscated under the Act may be allowed to be used, operated or leased, pending the outcome of the investigation or auction by ACC with approval from the court, as per the Rules adopted by the commission.

According to the latest change in section 104 and 108, in section 108 which is about the immovable property dealing with property after seizure to be void, the change that ACC has proposed is that the owner from whom the property was seized shall be allowed to use the property, but before that ACC, with approval from the court, will let the owner or any third person use the property seized. At the same time, ACC will also have to develop certain rules and regulations based on the seized property management.

“In movable property, we often seize heavy equipment and machineries so if we have seized such a property from anyone, but a third party wants to hire or use it on lease, the owner will be allowed to lease it. But as far as the ACC is concerned, we will be just mindful on the property being transferred to a third party as the physical party changes but the ownership should not be changed, so as far as that is restricted it is fine so that way the value of the property will be retained,” the official said.

He mentioned the famous the Trongsa case, which was repeatedly discussed in the Parliament. He said the resort has turned into ruins so even if the case will be won by the defendant, it will no longer be in the same condition as when the property was seized so there is loss to both the parties when the value of the property decreases.

“If the amendment gets adopted, the flexibility that we have proposed shall be of good change, it can allowthe owners to use the property and even if the owner wants to lease it out to the third party, it shall be granted once the proposal will be implemented. So for ACC, we will be just concerned about the property being transferred to the third party,” said an official of ACC.

The new subsection after section 108 (2) states that any immovable property or developmental works which is frozen, seized or confiscated under this Act maybe allowed to use, operate, lease or resume, pending outcome of thee investigation and prosecution with approval from the court, as per the rules adopted by ACC.

If the proposal gets adopted the seized property shall be allowed to be reused by the respective owners which has been deliberated in the NA, but should there be any changes, the matter will be discussed in the Joint Sitting in June 2022.

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