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04 June 2015

Combating corruption in the forestry sector focus of INTERPOL training in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Anti-corruption investigators and forestry law enforcement officials from across Southeast Asia have gathered in Malaysia to strengthen collaboration and investigative skills, to more effectively fight corruption in the forestry sector.

The 11th INTERPOL Global Programme on Anti-Corruption, Financial Crimes and Asset Recovery was organized by INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes and Environmental Security units, in coordination with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy. The five-day (1-5 June) training event has brought together 27 participants from eight countries to learn techniques to investigate and mitigate corruption and financial crimes derived from illegal logging in the region.

The training course enables participants to exchange best practices in the detection, investigation and prosecution of corrupt acts related to illegal logging and the illicit timber trade. It also serves to encourage collaboration between countries’ anti-corruption units and forestry departments on investigations. 

“All countries must be united in combating all forms of crimes, including corruption and crimes against the environment. We share a collective responsibility to prevent these crimes from threatening the security of our citizens. When comes to fighting corruption, prevention is always better than cure,” said Tan Sri Dr. Abu Kassim bin Mohamed, Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Addressing the participants, Stanley Ude, Criminal Intelligence Officer with INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes unit, urged participants to work together to chart the way in fighting corruption in Southeast Asia.

“Corruption in the forestry sector undermines not only the profitability and sustainability of the world’s forest resources, but also weakens countries’ broader forest governance systems,” he said.

Additional topics to be discussed include the abuse of public office; forestry governance and integrity; reducing corruption in procurement and contracting; lifestyle audits; anti-corruption investigations using digital and mobile forensics; and the role of INTERPOL in supporting international asset recovery.

The training event is part of INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes programmes, conducted in collaboration with INTERPOL’s Project Leaf (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests), an initiative to combat illegal logging worldwide funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Participants are from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.