Corruption, financial crime and asset recovery focus of INTERPOL meeting in Nigeria
ABUJA, Nigeria – Senior investigators and prosecutors from West, East and Central Africa have come together in Nigeria to discuss ways to successfully identify, investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and related financial crimes at the 6th INTERPOL Global Programme on Anti-Corruption, Financial Crimes and Asset Recovery.
Organized by INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes unit in coordination with the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Abidjan and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria, the five-day (7-11 October) meeting gathered some 60 participants from 16 countries to examine the latest tools and techniques for investigating different forms of corruption.
Topics covered included fraud, financial crimes, abuse of authority, corruption in procurement and contracting, corruption in the financial sector, abuse of public office, money laundering, auditing and computer forensics, asset recovery and the effective use of mutual legal assistance in international investigations.
Ibrahim Lamorde, Executive Director of the EFCC, highlighted the critical role of international police cooperation in successfully tackling corruption in Africa and beyond.
“Corruption on the scale in which we confront it today is hardly a simplistic, one-man criminal endeavour. That is why we are devoting enormous resources to set up operational institutions, build legal architectures and drive through reform programmes. But these efforts will always come up short against determined criminals if they are not backed by inter-agency cooperation,” warned Mr Lamorde.
Presentations during the meeting – the first of its kind held in West Africa – focused on case studies, challenges to successful investigations, prosecutions of corruption cases and information specifically relevant to the African region, with practical exercises to assist participants in enhancing their skills and abilities.
“Corruption and financial crimes are growing security threats to our societies. Investigating corruption and financial crime requires better understanding of the crime,” said Inspector General of the Nigerian Police, Mohammed Abubakar.
“To stay ahead of the criminals, the law enforcement community needs to have the necessary resources, knowledge and well-developed partnerships with all stakeholders,” he concluded.
Delegates were also updated on an innovative new tool to enhance the fight against corruption: the INTERPOL Secure E-mail Capability – Asset Recovery (SECOM). For the first time within the anti-corruption community, SECOM will enable the instant and secure exchange of information and technical knowledge on corruption and related asset recovery.
In the field of asset recovery, INTERPOL works closely with the Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative, run jointly by the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The objectives of the INTERPOL-StAR partnership for the coming years in international asset recovery will be examined during the meeting.
Head of INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption unit, Jaganathan Saravanasamy acknowledged “the prominent role played by the EFCC in the fight against corruption.”
“Corruption is a universal phenomenon; no country, no society is immune to it. The challenges to tackling corruption are immense and investigations into cases of corruption are often complex, therefore it is critical that law enforcement worldwide is equipped with the knowledge and skills to bring an end to this harmful crime,” said Mr Saravanasamy
INTERPOL’s Global Focal Point Platform connects registered anti-corruption practitioners worldwide and provides them access to a range of investigative tools and services, including contact details of their counterparts around the globe, legislative and judicial frameworks concerning asset recovery, all valid INTERPOL notices issued for corruption-related cases, and an ‘initial action checklist’ to assist with the first stages of an investigation. Some 170 national investigators and prosecutors from nearly 100 countries have been nominated as Focal Points