A report by the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery programme found that, while nearly $1.4 billion in suspected corrupt assets were frozen in OECD countries between 2010 and 2012, less than $150 million was returned. Recovering stolen assets is of particular importance for sub-Saharan African countries, given the extent of the looting of public funds carried out by corrupt leaders and officials.
Prosecuting international corruption and recovering stolen assets has proved difficult and time-consuming. Both states from which assets have been stolen, and those where these assets are laundered or stored, have struggled to produce results.
The recently confirmed confiscation and subsequently agreed upon return of stolen assets from Jersey to Kenya – in the context of the investigation of Windward Trading Limited – is therefore a significant achievement. It may also serve as an example of the kind of innovative legal approach other states, practitioners and the international community can explore to achieve meaningful progress in the recovery of stolen assets.