STRONGER POWERS FOR CAB
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has indicated that under forthcoming legislation the powers of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) will be increased.
The bureau, which was established in August 1996 by Minister Nora Owen, was given statutory powers on 15th October 1996 when the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996 came into force. The bureau’s statutory objective is to confiscate, freeze or seize criminal assets. Its work also includes ensuring that criminal proceeds are subject to tax and investigation and determining the eligibility of claims for social welfare benefits or assistance for criminals or suspected criminals.
CAB has staff drawn not only from the Gardai but also the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social and Family affairs. It is supported by the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and works in consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the office of the Attorney General.
According to Mr. Shatter, the bureau has been very successful to date and has been run extremely well. In 2010 alone, the bureau paid more than €7 million from the proceeds of crime into the central exchequer fund. It initiated 15 High Court cases last year under the Proceeds of Crime Act and paid €3.114 million over to the Minister of Finance.
The Minister said his department were reviewing the legislation that exists in relation to CAB and he anticipated an increase in the bureau’s powers as well as additional opportunities for CAB to perform its function.
Mr. Shatter said the bureau had made it clear to those engaged in criminal conduct “there would be a day of reckoning”.