€2.2million new facilities for Asset Recovery Bureau

Asset Recovery Bureau to get new €2.2 million premises, housing analysis laboratories and adequate asset storage space


A €2.2 million projectl currently underway will result in a new forensic laboratory and adequate asset storage space for the Asset Recovery Bureau, BusinessToday has learned.

The project will include the purchase of a large warehouse which will be used to store assets seized in the fight against organised crime and money laundering.

On Tuesday in Parliament, Opposition leader Bernard Grech said the government had failed to deliver on its promise to strengthen the ARB which, he said, had hardly produced any results.

But when contacted, Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis rubbished Grech’s claims.

“Just as the Labour government recognised the importance of setting up the ARB in 2015, we remain committed to ensuring the bureau can benefit from the latest technology and all the funding necessary to fulfill its mandate,” he said.

The new premises will include specialised laboratories with new technology to help in asset tracing as well as enough storage space to preserve confiscated assets.

The number of staff on ARB’s payroll are also set to increase considerably in the coming weeks.

Zammit Lewis said this latest investment in the ARB complements new legislation recently drawn up - the Proceeds of Crime Bill.

The bill will establish an Asset Recovery Office, fully independent of the government and with its functions and scope clearly laid out.

“This new bill also provides a solid basis for the harmonisation of procedures effective under different laws affecting proceeds from crime,” Zammt Lewis said.

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