GIABA TO TRAIN LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS ON FINANCIAL CRIMES INVESTIGATION
The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), in partnership with the German Agency for Development Cooperation (GIZ), will organise a five-day Regional Workshop on Financial Investigation for Law Enforcement Agencies from West African countries in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, from March 22 to 26, 2021.
The regional workshop is aimed at building the capacity of investigators and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute economic and financial crimes cases, particularly money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) cases, as well as the tracing and recovery of proceeds of crimes and stolen assets.
GIABA has, in recent years, ramped up activities to support ECOWAS member States in their AML/CFT efforts. Yet, mutual evaluation reports, including follow-up reports and other reports of GIABA, have revealed a low rate of investigation, prosecution, conviction, and confiscation of assets obtained from the commission of predicate offenses. This situation has been attributed to the lack of political will, inadequate legislative frameworks, lack of access to and sharing of relevant information, lack of appropriate skills and resources for relevant officials to conceptualise the essential elements of money laundering, associated predicate offences, and terrorist financing.
Feedback from participants at previous workshops on the investigation and prosecution of ML/TF cases has confirmed the challenges being faced by the region in investigating and prosecuting economic and financial crimes. They also indicate that the workshops have enabled investigators and prosecutors to conceptualise economic and financial crimes and understand the challenges and opportunities in investigating and prosecuting ML, associated predicate offenses, and TF. The value and importance of cooperation and the sharing of knowledge and experience across institutional, national, regional, and international boundaries to address these challenges cannot be over-emphasised. Participants have also expressed the wish for more practical training, including hands-on exercises involving specific case studies and tools on ML, associated predicate offences, and TF, clearly demonstrating the need for GIABAto step up its capacity building for investigators and prosecutors by providing hands-on exercises and case studies.
The workshop will be facilitated by experienced and highly competent regional and international experts on AML/CFT through plenary sessions, case studies, experience-sharing, and syndicate group sessions.
It is expected that the workshop would lead to enhancement in the capacities of participants, facilitate effective implementation of AML/CFT measures in the region and globally, and improve coordination and cooperation between investigators, prosecutors, and other stakeholders involved in the fight against ML/TF.