Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions (132)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

132. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the value of goods and the amount in cash collected by the Criminal Assets Bureau that has gone to the general Exchequer fund to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50757/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is a multi-agency statutory body established under the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996. The Bureau’s remit is to target a person's assets, wherever situated, which derive, or are suspected to derive, directly or indirectly, from criminal conduct. Since its inception, the Bureau has been at the forefront of fighting organised crime in this jurisdiction and disrupting the activities of criminal gangs by depriving them of ill-gotten assets.

The Bureau is widely regarded as a best practice model in the context of combating organised crime. It works closely with law enforcement bodies at national and international levels and continues to relentlessly pursue the illicit proceeds of organised crime activity. The actions of the Bureau send a strong message to criminals and to local communities that profiting from crime will not be tolerated.

Reflecting the Government's commitment to ensure that the Bureau is adequately resourced, the CAB’s staffing and budgetary allocation has increased significantly in recent years. The Bureau's budgetary allocation has gone up from €7.042 million in 2016 to €8.603m in 2019. The Bureau's budget for 2020 has been increased to a total of €9.1 million.

The Proceeds of Crime Acts 1996 - 2016 provide the legal framework underpinning the Bureau's powers to take all necessary actions, including the making of applications to the High Court, in relation to the seizing and securing of assets with a view to their disposal in due course in accordance with the provisions of that legislation.

With regard to the specific information sought by the Deputy, I would point out that Section 21 of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996 requires the Bureau, through the Garda Commissioner, to provide a report of its activities each year to the Minister for Justice and Equality who is then required to lay copies of the report before each House of the Oireachtas.

The Annual Reports (including the most recent, the Annual Report 2018, which was published in June this year) are available in the Oireachtas library and on the website of An Garda Síochána and my own Department. The published reports provide full details of all assets seized and disposed of by the Bureau. Further information can be found at the following address

http://www.cab.ie/en/cab/pages/annualreports.

The final statistics for 2019 are not yet complete or ready for publication. I expect to receive the 2019 report by mid-2020.