1.   Short title.

   2.   Interpretation.


Constitution of the Court

   3.   Establishment of the Court.

   4.   Composition of the Court.

   5.   Qualification for and summoning of lay members.

   6.   Duration of service of lay members.

   7.   Oath of office.

   8.   Remuneration and expenses.

   9.   Seals of the Court.

   10.   Administration of the Court.

Jurisdiction and Functions

   11.   Powers and duties of the Court.

   12.   Power to refer matters to other courts.

   13.   Place of sittings.

   14.   Disclosure of interest of member.

   15.   Privilege of proceedings.

   16.   Decisions and verdicts.

   17.   Reports from the Court.

   18.   Contempt of the Court.

   19.   Power of Court in relation to contempt.


Investigation Process

   20.   Application of Criminal Procedure Act.

   21.   Personnel for investigation.

   22.   Search for and seizure of property.

   23.   Disposal and forfeiture of property.

   24.   Disappearance of suspect.

The Decision to Prosecute

   25.   D.P.P. to be informed of occurrences and to give directions.

   26.   Consent of D.P.P. for prosecutions.

   27.   [Repealed.]


Preliminary Procedure

   28.   Application of Criminal Procedure Act.

   29.   Procedure on arrest.

   30.   Committal for trial by Court.

   31.   The information.

   32.   Address of the accused to be recorded.

   33.   Admission by accused.

   34.   Denial by accused.

   35.   Preliminary hearing.

   36.   Bail.

   37.   Change of circumstances after grant of bail.

   38.   Arrest of persons contravening bail provisions.

Procedure during Trial

   39.   Expedition of actions.

   40.   Dismissal of charge.

   41.   Procedure on close of case for the prosecution.

   42.   Procedure on defence of alibi.

   43.   Judgment and sentence.

   44.   Alternative verdicts.

   45.   Orders in respect of property.

Provisions regarding Evidence

   46.   Application of Evidence Act.

   47.   Manner of obtaining and sources of evidence.

   48.   Evidence on oath or affirmation.

   49.   Evidence in presence of accused and examination.

   50.   Evidence in absence of accused.

   51.   Interpretation of evidence.

   52.   Refractory witnesses.

   53.   Protection of witnesses.

   54.   Immunity of witnesses.

   55.   Depositions to preserve testimony.

   56.   Litigation concerning sources of evidence.


   57.   Offences under this Act.

   58.   Application of Penal Code.

   59.   Prohibition of transfer of advantage or property involved in economic offence.

   60.   Punishment for proved crimes.

   61.   Orders for compensation, restitution, etc.

   62.   Right of Appeal.


   63.   Regulations.

   64.   [Amendment of laws.]

   65.   [Repeal.]

   66.   Consequential and transitional provisions.



An Act to make better provision for the control and eradication of certain crime and culpable non-criminal misconduct through the prescription of modified investigation and trial procedures, and new penal prohibitions, the provision of enhanced sanctions and new remedies, and for related matters.

[25th September, 1984]
[s. 1 (2)]

Acts Nos.
13 of 1984
12 of 1987
13 of 1988
10 of 1989
27 of 1991
3 of 1992
9 of 1995
17 of 1996
31 of 1997
27 of 2008
3 of 2009
3 of 2011
6 of 2012
G.N. No.
658 of 1998


1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Economic and Organised Control Act.

2.   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires–

   "aircraft" means any machine that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reaction of the air other than the reaction of the air against the earth's surface;

   "aircraft facilities" shall have the meaning ascribed to it in any subsidiary legislation made under the Civil Aviation Act *;

   "appropriate judicial authority" means the Chief Justice and each judge of the High Court authorised in writing by the Chief Justice to exercise the functions of an appropriate judicial authority under this Act;

   "bank" includes any financial institution by whatever title known and whether or not it provides banking services;

   "business" includes a business not carried on for profit;

   "carrier" means any person engaged in the transportation of passenger or property by land, air or sea, as a common contract or private carrier of freight, forwarder, and officers, agents or employees of such carrier;

   "combination" means persons who collaborate in carrying out and furthering the activities or purposes of a criminal racket even though such persons may not know each other's identity or the membership combination changes from time to time or one or more members may stand in a wholesaler-retailer or other arm's length relationship with others as to activities or dealings between or among themselves in an illicit operation;

   "confidence game" means any swindling operation whereby advantage is taken of the confidence reposed by the victim in the swindler;

   "Court" means the High Court sitting as an Economic Crimes Court pursuant to section 3;

   "criminal racket" means any combination of persons or enterprises engaging, or having the purpose of engaging, whether once, occasionally or on a continuing basis, in conduct which amounts to an offence under this Act;

   "dealer" means any person engaged in the business of distributing any goods for consumption or use by other at wholesale or retail, or the treatment or use of such goods for the purposes of manufacturing other goods for distribution by others;

   "decision" includes a judgment, finding, acquittal, conviction, sentence or ruling;

   "document" includes–

   (a)   a book, plan, paper, parchment or other material on which there is writing or printing, or on which there are marks, symbols, perforations having a meaning for persons qualified or intended to interpret them; and

   (b)   a disc, tape, paper or other device from which sounds or messages are capable of being reproduced;

   "economic offence" means any offence triable under this Act;

   "enterprise" includes any individual, partnership, corporation, association or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity, carrying on any business whether or not for profit;

   "explosive materials" includes explosives, blasting agents, detonators any material used in the manufacture of explosives;

   "firearm" means–

   (a)   any weapon which is capable of expelling, or is designed or may readily be convened to expel, a projectile by the action of an explosive;

   (b)   the frame or receiver of any such weapon;

   (c)   any firearm muffler or firearm silencer;

   (d)   any destructive device,

and includes an antique or domestically manufactured firearm;

   "foreign commerce" means commerce between the United Republic, or any citizen of or any firm or body corporate established in the United Republic, and any foreign country, firm, person or body of persons;

   "game" means a sport;

   "importer" means any person engaged in the business of importing or bringing any article or thing of commercial value into the United Republic;

   "internal trade" means commerce amongst the citizens, firms and other persons or bodies of persons, whether or not corporate, within the United Republic;

   "Judge" means a Judge of the High Court;

   "lay member" means a member of the Court other than a Judge;

   "local government authority" means a city, municipality, town, district or village council, and includes a township authority and any committee or other body established by and for the purposes of a local government authority;

   "magistrate" means a magistrate performing or authorised to perform any function for the purposes of this Act;

   "manufacturer" means any person engaged in the business of manufacturing any article or thing of commercial value;

   "member" means a member of the Court, and includes the Judge presiding over the proceedings of the Court;

   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for legal affairs;

   "motor vehicle" and "motor vehicle facilities" means every description of carriage or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the highways in the transportation of passengers or passengers and property, whether publicly or privately owned;

   "official act" means any decision or action on any question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy, which may at any time be pending, or which may by law be brought before any public official, in his official capacity;

   "organised crime" means any offence or non-criminal culpable conduct which is committed in combination or from whose nature, a presumption may be raised that its commission is evidence of the existence of a criminal racket in respect of acts connected with, related to or capable of producing the offence in question;

   "person" includes an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation, and any other organisation or group of persons whether or not a body corporate;

   "prosecuting officer" means a person so designated under section 27;

   "public official" means any person holding any office, whether appointive or elective, in the Government of the United Republic or any agency of the United Republic;

   "racket" means any combination of persons or enterprises;

   "Regional Judicial Board" means the Board appointed under the Judicial Service Act; *

   "Registrar" means the Registrar of the High Court;

   "specified authority" means any department of the Government of the United Republic, a co-operative society, a local government authority or a parastatal organisation;

   "sport" includes archery, athletics, bao, baseball, basketball, boxing, cards, chess, cricket, darts, dog-racing, draughts, football, hockey, horseracing, handball, netball, polo, squash, swimming, tennis, volleyball and any other game, play or sport, by whatever name called, involving bodily exercise or mental exertion, whether outdoor or indoor and whether played by amateurs or professionals;

   "sports contest" means a sports competition of any kind;

   "wildlife" and "wildlife resources" include resources which comprise wild mammals, wild birds, fish, and all other categories of wild creatures of any kind, and all types of aquatic and land vegetation upon which such wildlife resources are dependent.

   (2) All offences created by or punishable under the First Schedule to this Act shall be referred to as economic offences.

   (3) Except where the nature or circumstances of an offence indicate otherwise, where two or more persons are proved to have been jointly involved in the commission of an economic offence, or where it appears to the Court that the accused could not have committed the offence without the connivance or collaboration of a person or persons not known to the Court, the commission of the offence shall be deemed to have been organised, and the offence to be an organised crime for the purposes of sentence.


Constitution of the Court (ss 3-10)

3.   Establishment of the Court

   (1) The jurisdiction to hear and determine cases involving economic offences under this Act is hereby vested in the High Court.

   (2) The High Court when hearing charges against any person for the purposes of this Act shall be an Economic Crimes Court.

4.   Composition of the Court Act No. 12 of 1987 s. 2">

   The Economic Crimes Court shall consist of a Judge of the High Court and two lay members.

5.   Qualification for and summoning of lay members Act No. 12 of 1987 s. 3">

   (1) The Regional Judicial Board shall at the beginning of each year compile and submit to the Registrar of the High Court as well as to the relevant District Registrar of the High Court a list containing the names of not more than ten persons who are resident in the region who may be summoned to be lay members of the Court.

   (2) The Regional Judicial Board shall enlist persons who, in its opinion, are responsible and reasonable members of the community and are fit to perform the duties of the office of lay member.

   (3) Every literate person of between the ages of thirty and sixty years who may serve as an assessor under the Magistrates' Court Act * shall be liable to serve as a lay member of the Court.

   (4) The High Court shall select and summon two persons from among the list submitted by the Regional Judicial Board to be lay members for the purposes of each session or, if one case only is to be heard, for the purposes of the case concerned.

   (5) Where a lay member becomes unable to sit on the Court after proceedings in any case have commenced, and such inability is expected to last unduly long, the proceedings may continue until the conclusion of that case or, if at a session, of all the other cases, notwithstanding the absence of that member.

   (6) In selecting and summoning persons to be lay members the High Court shall take into account the nature of the economic offences involved, the standard of literacy of the persons for the purposes of understanding any technicalities involved in the offences charged, the region in which the offences took place and any other relevant human factor which may possibly affect the outcome of the trial.

6.   Duration of service of lay members

   (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person whose name is submitted by the Regional Judicial Board shall be eligible to serve on the Court for one calendar year, but he may be included in the list for the next following year.

   (2) Every lay member shall hold office during good behaviour but may be removed from the list of lay members by the Chief Justice or the appropriate judicial authority for good cause.

   (3) A person removed from office of a lay member while serving on the Court shall be disqualified from subsequent enlistment as a lay member of the Court.

   (4) Every lay member selected immediately after the commencement of this Act shall be eligible to serve on the Court only until the 31st day of December, 1984, but may be reselected.

7.   Oath of office Act No. 12 of 1987 s. 4">

   (1) Every lay member shall, prior to the commencement of each session or the proceedings in a single case, take and subscribe the oath prescribed in the Second Schedule of this Act, in the presence of a Judge of the High Court.

   (2) Where any lay member has no religious belief or the taking of an oath is contrary to his religious belief, he may make and subscribe a solemn affirmation in the form of the oath prescribed, substituting the words "solemnly and sincerely affirm" for the word "swear" and omitting the words "so help me God".

   (3) The record of the oath office shall after subscription by each member be kept as part of the record of the proceedings or session in respect of which the member is sworn.

8.   Remuneration and expenses

   (1) Every member of the Court and every person, other than counsel for the defence, discharging duties connected with proceedings before the Court shall be paid such remuneration or allowances as the Minister may from time to time to time, by notice published in the Gazette, determine.

   (2) The remuneration or allowances to be paid under subsection (1) shall be of such amount as may be sufficient to cover the cost of board, lodging, transport and travel likely to be incurred.

9.   Seals of the Court

   The Court shall use distinctive stamps and seals of such nature and pattern as the Chief Justice may direct.

10.   Administration of the Court

   (1) The Chief Justice shall make such manpower arrangements as he may consider appropriate for ensuring the smooth co-ordination of the affairs of the Court.

   (2) For the purposes of this section, the Chief Justice may select public officers employed in the Judiciary Department and assign to them such duties as he may determine for the purposes of ensuring the proper and efficient functioning of the Court.

   (3) The Chief Justice may, from time to time, issue such directions as he may determine for the guidance of all officers, or a category of them,in the performance of duties in relation to matters arising under or connected with this Act and such directions shall be under the hand of the Chief Justice.

Jurisdiction and Functions (ss 11-19)

11.   Powers and duties of the Court Act No. 12 of 1987 s. 5">

   (1) The Court shall have power to inquire into economic offences alleged to have been committed, and to make such decisions and orders for the purposes of this Act as it may in each case find fit and just.

   (2) Allegations of commission of any economic offence may be brought to the attention of the Court through–

   (a)   the reference by any court subordinate to the High Court, with copies of records being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, of any case involving economic offence or offences previously instituted before that court;

   (b)   the institution of proceedings before the Court by the Director of Public Prosecutions or by his representative duly appointed in accordance with section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Act. *

   (3) Where the Court finds any accused person guilty of the economic offence charged it may pass such sentence on him as it deems fit and just in the circumstances of the case, subject to this Act, and explain to him his right of appeal.

   (4) Where the Court finds any accused person not guilty of the offence charged or of any alternative economic offence disclosed by the evidence adduced it shall forthwith acquit and order the release of that person.

12.   Power to refer matters to other courts Act No. 12 of 1987 s. 6">

   (1) Where the Court decides that an alleged economic offence is in fact not an economic offence which it has jurisdiction to try, it shall order that proceedings in respect of that offence be instituted in such court as it may deem proper to order, but shall make no order in relation to the accused person save for bail if an application is made in that behalf.

   (2) Where the Court decides that it has no jurisdiction and makes an order under subsection(1), the accused shall be deemed to have been discharged for the purposes of proceedings before the Court, but the discharge shall not operate to preclude the arrest of the person for the purposes of proceedings in relation to him before an appropriate competent court in respect of the same facts on which he was brought before the Court.

   (3) The Director of Public Prosecutions or any State Attorney duly authorised by him, may, in each case in which he deems it necessary or appropriate in the public interest, by certificate under his hand, order that any case involving an offence triable by the Court under this Act be tried by such court subordinate to the High Court as he may specify in the certificate.

   (4) The Director of Public Prosecutions or any State Attorney duly authorised by him, may, in each case in which he deems it necessary or appropriate in the public interest, by certificate under his hand order that any case instituted or to be instituted before a court subordinate to the High Court and which involves a non-economic offence or both an economic offence and a non-economic offence, be instituted in the Court. [ss. (3A)]

   (5) Where a certificate is issued under subsection (3), it shall be lodged in the court concerned, and shall constitute full authority for, and confer jurisdiction upon, the court in which it is lodged to try the case in question. [ss. (4)]

   (6) Where a person tried by a court subordinate to the High Court pursuant to the preceding provisions of this section is found guilty by that court, the court shall impose on that person the sentence provided for by this Act. [ss. (5)]

13.   Place of sittings

   The proceedings of the Court shall be conducted in any building or room in which the sittings of the High Court are ordinarily held or, subject to the directions of the appropriate judicial authority, in such other place which is different from, but is fit for use as, a court room.

14.   Disclosure of interest of member

   (1) No member shall sit on the Court for the hearing and determination of any matter in which he has any interest other than that of seeing to the eradication of economic and organised crime through lawful means.

   (2) A member who has an interest in the matter shall inform the presiding Judge of his interest before taking the oath for the purposes of the case, and the Judge shall cause a summons to be sent out for another person to replace that member.

15.   Privilege of proceedings

   (1) Save as is expressly provided by this Act no act or thing done or omitted by a member shall, if done or omitted bona fide in the exercise of his judicial functions under this Act, render such member criminally liable for such act or omission.

   (2) Any advocate or other person appearing before the Court on behalf of a party shall have the same protection and immunity as an advocate has in appearing for a party in ordinary proceedings before the High Court.

   (3) Subject to this Act, a person summoned to attend or appearing before the Court as a witness shall have the same protection, and shall, in addition to the penalties provided by this Act, be subject to the same liabilities, in any civil or criminal proceedings, as a witness in ordinary proceedings in the High Court.

16.   Decisions and verdicts Act No. 12 of 1987 s. 7">

   (1) All questions to be decided by the Court, other than the question whether or not the accused is guilty of any offence, shall be decided by agreement of the majority of the members and the reasons for any member differing from the views held by the majority of the members shall be stated by him in open court and be recorded by the Judge presiding over the proceedings, and shall form a part of the record of the Court in those proceedings.

   (2) The decision whether or not the accused is guilty shall be made by the Judge presiding over the proceedings after–

   (a)   summing up the evidence for the prosecution and the defence; and

   (b)   requiring each of the lay members to state his opinion orally as to the case generally and as to any specific question of ..... addressed to him by the Judge, and recording such opinion.

   (3) The Judge shall not, in making the decision pursuant to subsection (2), be bound by the opinions of the lay members.

17.   Reports from the Court

   (1) The Registrar and each District Registrar shall at intervals of six months, prepare and submit to the Minister a report specifying–

   (a)   the total number of economic offences brought before the Court for trial;

   (b)   the number of each type of economic offences inquired into;

   (c)   the number of persons tried for commission of each type of economic offence;

   (d)   the orders made by the Court in the trial of each economic offence;

   (e)   any recommendations for the control or eradication of any economic or other crime or crimes;

   (f)   any other matter which the Minister may require the Registrar to report upon.

   (2) The Court may, in any appropriate case, after the trial, submit a special report to the Minister–

   (a)   concerning non-criminal or professional misconduct, abuse or misuse of office involving economic or organised criminal activity by any public official as the basis for a recommendation of his removal or disciplinary action being taken against him;

   (b)   regarding the state and conditions of economic and organised criminal activity within the area of the jurisdiction of the Court,

and the Minister shall act upon the report in accordance with relevant law.

18.   Contempt of the Court Act No. 12 of 1987 s. 8">

   (1) Any person who–

   (a)   wilfully disobeys any lawful order, process or requirement issued by the Court;

   (b)   publishes any proceedings or report of the Court or any part of it contrary to an order of the Court prohibiting publication;

   (c)   discloses or publishes a report of the evidence taken or deliberations of the Court held in camera or directed to be withheld from publication;

   (d)   within the premises in which any proceeding of the Court is being held or taken, or within the precincts of those premises, shows disrespect, in speech or manner, to or with reference to that proceeding;

   (e)   within the premises in which any proceeding of the Court is being held or taken, and in the face of the Court, conducts himself, in speech or manner, so as to be likely to threaten any witness or to disrupt the proceedings of the Court;

   (f)   with a view to preventing the giving of evidence or production of any thing before the Court, does any act intended or likely to intimidate a person summoned from giving evidence or producing the thing;

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