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01 February 2016

Republic of the Congo and INTERPOL

INTERPOL Brazzaville, an NCB vital for the security of the Congolese people.

The Republic of the Congo is hosting the 23rd INTERPOL African Regional Conference which will take place soon in Brazzaville.

This conference will provide the opportunity for police services from 54 African countries to come together and decide on new strategies to combat transnational crime which threatens the security of the African continent.

In anticipation of the upcoming conference in Congo, two key figures and two other police officials agreed to be interviewed by the INTERPOL General Secretariat to introduce the General Police Directorate and explain the importance of INTERPOL for the security of Congo and – on a larger scale – of the African continent.

Mr Raymond Zéphirin Mboulou, Minister of the Interior and Decentralization

On enhancing police cooperation in Africa:

Africa and INTERPOL have been committed to fighting terrorism and organized crime for a long time. No country can deal with the challenges alone; we must work closely together. It is for this very reason that African countries’ membership of INTERPOL is crucial for the national security of each of them.

Congo upholds a long-standing tradition for INTERPOL because the very first regional conference in its history, all regions combined, was held in Africa. Who would have thought, back in 1962 during the first INTERPOL African Regional Conference in Liberia, that the 23rd would take place in Congo, a country that, at the time, had just achieved independence?

The Congolese police are eager to organize this important event, particularly considering that the security of our continent could be weakened by constantly changing forms of crime. The fact that criminals can turn technological innovations to their advantage means that African police forces must rethink their courses of action.

By bringing together the police forces of African countries, we can gain new insight into how crime can be contained and, hand-in-hand, preserve our security at the national, regional and even international levels.

I welcome all the delegations that will be arriving in our capital to attend this important and strategic police conference. The Director General of Police and his staff have done their best to ensure that this meeting and your stay in our country will be productive, stimulating and constructive.

Jean-François Ndengue, Police General (2nd Class) – Director General of Police, Republic of Congo:

On the importance of international police cooperation for security in Congo:

A country cannot, by itself, effectively combat crime because crime is typically international by nature. A police force cannot be effective without international cooperation. Congo has always contributed to strengthening international police cooperation to successfully tackle crime in all its forms.

Congo gained independence on 15 August 1960. A month later, by a decree of 15 September 1960, the Directorate of Police Services and Safety was authorized to apply for membership of INTERPOL. It was almost like giving birth to twins.

INTERPOL Brazzaville opened its doors in September 1961 to enable the new Congolese national police to cooperate with police institutions from around the world. This affiliation was crucial for the fledgling State of Congo, still fragile and underprepared to confront cross-border crime.

As part of efforts to strengthen international police cooperation and to lead a coordinated fight against crime in all its forms, the Congolese police forged a solid partnership with our other national law enforcement services, such as theGendarmerie Nationale, Customs, Water and Forestry, Health and Transport departments, the Congolese Copyright Bureau, the Order of Pharmacists, the courts and the Anti-Drugs unit.

Each of these services has designated a focal point at the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Brazzaville. These focal points work together to devise joint strategies to combat national and international crime, examine issues of cooperation to fight crime, identify new and emerging forms of crime, and pool all criminal statistics to conduct a relevant criminal analysis. They contribute and collaborate, within their field of expertise, to populate the INTERPOL criminal database and to fight effectively against all forms of crime.

On the international fight against corruption:

At a time when criminals are constantly employing new means to squander public resources, it is vital to adapt the qualifications and skills of those who are working to combat corruption and similar offences. It is of the utmost importance for police and judicial services worldwide to be able to coordinate global action. The INTERPOL Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes unit offers all INTERPOL Member States a wide range of effective projects to foster information exchange, define best practices and deliver training courses adapted to their needs.

Like any other country in the world, Congo is not exempt from corruption. A national anti-corruption and fraud commission was set up by presidential decree. This commission is composed of a college of heads of law enforcement, from all different backgrounds. This body is responsible for establishing procedures to initiate criminal proceedings.

The Congolese police are also concerned by corruption. This problem is cause for concern for the heads of our departments at all levels, which is why we are constantly searching for ways and means of reducing it, or even eliminating it altogether.

To combat corruption, the police are supported by legislation that considers corruption, fraud and similar offences as serious crimes, and punishes them accordingly.

Therefore, our staff, regardless of their grade or position, are criminally responsible for acts of corruption they commit and are brought before the courts.

For example, to combat corruption in public places, we have made sure that our officers who are on road traffic duty wear visible identity numbers. This measure allows drivers to identify and formally report the officer responsible. We can ensure you that since then, cases of corruption committed by our agents on the public highway have fallen considerably. And, as a matter of fact, this measure has inspired others to do the same, and certain public administrations have already taken up their example and put this into practice.

Colonel Jean Roger Kouni Okogna, Acting Head of NCB Congo

On the importance of INTERPOL in fighting crime in Congo:

As a member of INTERPOL, we can pursue perpetrators beyond our borders with international police cooperation, which has greatly benefited the Congolese police.

One area in which our membership of INTERPOL has been particularly valuable is environmental crime.

Congo is located in the Congo Basin, a vast forest region spanning 230 million hectares, and the second largest tropical forest in the world in terms of surface after the Amazon. To reconcile the demands of sustainable development and those of forest protection, regional and international police cooperation is fundamental to preserving this space which is vital not only for Congo, but for the whole world.

Our activities in this area include combating poaching and protecting endangered species, in partnership with the Water and Forestry Directorate, and ensuring that environmental protection laws are observed.

In partnership with NCBs of neighbouring countries, INTERPOL Brazzaville organizes operations in the field and often participates in training workshops on environmental protection, delivered either by specialized Congolese authorities, or by the INTERPOL General Secretariat. We also receive training courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana.

After each investigation that yields results, the police forward the necessary information, through NCB Congo, to populate the INTERPOL databases. If seizures are made, the NCB provides information on the quality and quantity of the species, placed under seal, to the INTERPOL General Secretariat and the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Cameroon. This is an example of real teamwork at the international level handling an issue that could have repercussions for the entire planet.

In the past 18 months, six police operations have been conducted nationally, including one carried out jointly with the Congolese Armed Forces and the Eco-Gardes, in which 41 poachers were brought to justice.

At the same time, in the past 24 months, 352 poachers have also been arrested throughout the country by partner services of the Ministry of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development.

Police Colonel Michel Koua, Specialized Regional Officer seconded by the Congolese police to INTERPOL

On INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau for Central Africa:

As part of its global outreach and in order to support police authorities regionally, INTERPOL operates seven Regional Bureaus (RBs) worldwide, including four in Africa. The most recent was inaugurated in Cameroon in 2009 to serve Central Africa.

As the RB in Cameroon is an important resource for confronting the challenges to Congolese security, the Congolese General Police Directorate decided in August 2013 to second me to the RB in Yaoundé.

The eight countries of Central Africa that the RB serves are faced with a number of security challenges – particularly arms and drug trafficking, terrorism, human trafficking, and maritime piracy – which require open and strong regional collaboration.

As a specialized regional officer, I am the focal point for international police cooperation in the eight countries covered by the RB, as well as for each of the 190 INTERPOL member countries.

My job is to provide support to each of the NCBs in the sub-region with regard to stolen or lost travel documents, false travel and identity documents, and to enable frontline officers to receive the support and training they need, not only to make their sub-region secure, but to also play a greater role in global security.

In addition to training, I also organize specialized meetings and lend assistance to police operations in member countries of the the Central African Police Chiefs Committee (CAPCCO), since the RB also acts as the permanent secretariat for this Committee.

For matters concerning the regional coordination of police cooperation, the RB is also responsible for enforcing the decisions of the INTERPOL General Assembly, its Executive Committee and CAPCCO.

Raymond Zéphirin Mboulou, Minister of the Interior and Decentralization

On the 23rd INTERPOL African Regional Conference:

Organized crime is growing significantly and its cost represents an ever-increasing burden on African economies. It is at the expense of security, health and the future of African citizens that crime is spreading throughout our continent.

Police forces need to be extremely innovative to counter threats posed by transnational crime, because the ability to adapt constantly to complex and evolving situations occurring on the global scale is the key to success for nations that have been effective in curbing this crime.

It is therefore with great pleasure that Congo welcomes the 23rd African Regional Conference. We thank INTERPOL for choosing Brazzaville as the host city. With speakers of such high quality, these three days of work will undoubtedly contribute towards enhancing police cooperation in Africa.

By devoting this event to the challenges that are specific to African police forces, INTERPOL confirms that it is still in touch with the reality on the ground.

To quote the words of Nelson Mandela in his inauguration speech in 1994, “none of us acting alone can achieve success”.

Rest assured that the Congolese national police will do everything in its power to guarantee the success of the 23rd INTERPOL African Regional Conference.

In this way, Africa will thus be demonstrating its unwavering presence in the global fight for security and justice.

         

Republic of the Congo

Proclamation of the Republic:
28 November 1958

Creation of the National Police:
29 December 1959

Independence:
15 August 1960

Membership of INTERPOL:
4 September 1961

MBOULOU MINISTRE INTERIEUR CONGO

Raymond Zéphirin Mboulou, Minister of the Interior and Decentralization since September 2009.

NDENGUE DIRECTEUR POLICE CONGO

Police General (2nd Class), Jean-François Ndengue

At the head of the Congolese Police for the past 18 years

Four-time President of the Central African Police Chiefs Committee (CAPCCO):

•     1997
•     2006
•     2012
•     2014

“Congo has a long tradition of active police cooperation, and has the privilege of having played a leading role in the creation of the Central African Police Chiefs Committee (CAPCCO). The Committee’s contribution was highly effective in creating the INTERPOL Regional Bureau for Central Africa in Cameroon. To strengthen its operational capabilities, one of our senior officers has been working there since August 2013.”

Jean-François Ndengue, Police General (2nd Class) – Director General of Police, Republic of Congo

Photo du Directeur de la Police Judiciaire

“INTERPOL enables us to better combat transnational organized crime with its working tools, such as its databases and its international wanted notices that make it easier to locate and arrest a person wanted by a judicial authority or an international tribunal with a view to his or her extradition.

In addition, the INTERPOL General Secretariat organizes several special skills training courses for our agents, in various fields such as cybercrime, crime analysis, drugs, human trafficking, and many others.”

Colonel Jean Roger Kouni Okogna, Acting Head of NCB Congo

Operation Wendi: A transnational police operation targeting criminal organizations behind the illegal trafficking of ivory in West and Central Africa.

Operation Wendi resulted in more than 70 arrests and the seizure of thousands of ivory products, as well as military-grade weapons and cash.

These interventions took place across five countries: Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia (2013-2014).

Police Colonel Michel Koua, Specialized Regional Officer seconded by the Congolese Police to the INTERPOL Regional Bureau for Central Africa

KOUA BUREAU REGIONAL CAMEROUN

“The Regional Bureau Yaoundé serves the following eight countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guinea, and Sao Tomé and Principe.

One of my major roles is to encourage and support the extension of the secured global police communications system I-24/7 beyond NCBs so that INTERPOL databases are accessible to strategic services such as border points. This connection will enable border control officers to check instantly if a person is internationally wanted or is travelling with a stolen or lost document.”