Asset and interest declarations and punishment of illicit enrichment
The Illicit Enrichment an Asset Declaration law, although in existence since the 1950s (modified in 1999) was effective in performing its purposes; it suffered from many legal loopholes that made it difficult to be enforced and was not in line with international standards. It was therefore thoroughly revised and modified in September 2020. The newly adopted law is known as the Asset and Interest Declaration and Punishment of Illicit Enrichment Law.
The new law develops a comprehensive system for asset and interest declarations, that obliges a large number of public officials, to declare their own assets, income, debts and interests, as well as those of their spouse and minor children, in Lebanon and abroad. Such declarations are due, under heavy penalties and consequences, upon appointment, exit from office, and more importantly, every three years.
The new law also redefines the crime of Illicit enrichment appropriately, in line with the provisions of UNCAC, as: any large increase of a public official’s wealth which the latter cannot justify with his/her legal income. The crime is heavily punished, including the recovery of illicit assets. New procedures are applicable, that provide for no statute of limitation, no prosecution immunities for administrative public officials and no special courts for the trial of ministers.
The National Anti-Corruption Institution, yet to be appointed, is in charge of monitoring the asset and interest declarations and may play an important role in the investigation and referral of illicit enrichment cases to the competent courts.
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