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Authorities confiscate billions of kip worth of assets

Authorities have confiscated property involved in legal cases that is worth many billions of kip, according to a Deputy Prime Minister.
The property includes 58 plots of land, 42 houses and other buildings, 17 guesthouses, a hotel, a warehouse, a market, 157 vehicles, 592 motorbikes, and cash and deposited money, Mr Somdy Duangdy told the National Assembly recently.
These assets have been taken over by the authorities for the purposes of investigation into unlawful activities, although no ruling on the cases has yet been made by the courts.
However, the courts have made rulings on some of the property and ownership has been transferred to the state. This comprises 79 plots of land, 340 vehicles, 1,327 motorbikes, and cash, said Mr Somdy, who is also Minister of Finance.
Much of the property  confiscated by the authorities is related to the drug trade and drug abuse, said an official at the Asset Department of the Ministry of Finance.
In reality, few of these assets have actually been handed over to the state but are only reported figures at this stage in proceedings.
“So far, just over 4 billion kip in fines has been added to the state’s budget,” Mr Somdy told members of parliament.
The Deputy Prime Minister gave the information in response to a question raised by Assembly members about how the property that was confiscated following a court ruling was dealt with. 
In 2017, 10 plots of land were handed over to the state and another seven became state property in 2018, Mr Somdy said.
The Ministry of Public Security will give confiscated vehicles and motorbikes to the Ministry of Finance.
Confiscated cash and money deposits will be transferred to the bank account of the State Treasury Department in order to centralise their management.
“Even money involved in cases on which the courts have not yet passed judgement will be deposited in this bank account,” Mr Somdy said, adding that other assets such as gold would be kept in the bank’s safe.
Once courts have issued a ruling on the case concerned, the confiscated money will be handled in line with the ruling.
Authorities in charge have said that confiscated vehicles whose cases are taking a long time to process should be sold at auction without waiting for the court to pass judgement.
Previous experience shows that some cases take years to process, which means that confiscated vehicles depreciate in value, Mr Somdy said.
It is preferable to sell these vehicles at auction and deposit the money in the treasury bank account. When the courts do pass judgement, the money can be given to the winner in the case, he added.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update July 9, 2019)


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