UNODC challenges Ghanaian, Liberian and Nigerian prosecutors to solve a fictitious organized crime and corruption case to strengthen their investigation management skills

     This activity was financed by the European Union

CRIMJUST, the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP) and the UNODC Project "Response to Drugs and Related Organized Crime in Nigeria" held a two-day practical exercise on strengthening integrity and strategy in investigation and prosecution of complex cases, from 19 to 20 July 2018, in Lagos, Nigeria.

"A non-profit charity organization recently opened an office in your capital city. The NGO's bank account shows suspicious patterns, including cash deposits and international wire transfers, but no expenses for humanitarian activities. Cash deposits are all under USD 10,000, which generally avoid attracting too much unwanted attention. Debits on the account are made through wire transfers, some of which are international. Those suspicious transactions were never reported, as the management of the bank considered that the NGO's bank account was operating normally. As a matter of fact, the bank manager is the brother-in-law of a long-serving parliamentarian of your country. Finally, a police report reveals that the NGO's representatives were previously investigated on suspicion of trafficking in narcotics, but could not be charged. As a prosecutor in charge of the case, what would you do?"  

This is the scenario that was laid down to 30 criminal justice practitioners (among them 5 women), mainly prosecutors, from Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria. During two days, participants of the Workshop on Strengthening Integrity in Investigation and Prosecution of Complex Cases had to review evidence and information provided as in a real-life situation. Jason Reichelt, UNODC Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, guided them in conducting a preliminary analysis, leading to the development of a comprehensive investigation plan. The second day was devoted to discussing approaches and techniques when questioning witnesses who may become potential informants or cooperating offenders in the investigation. Practitioners had the opportunity to role-play the witness and the interviewers, using different interviewing techniques (PEACE model, etc.) based on the level of cooperativeness of the witness.

 
Participants during the fictitious case exercise

Overall, participants put in practice their competences in investigation and prosecution of complex cases relating to corruption, drug trafficking and money laundering, among other offenses.

The workshop was designed based on the factual evidence linking organized crime and corruption,  that need to be addressed within a set of actions from state actors, in an effort to mitigate risks and ensure a due process of investigations of serious organized crime cases.

This workshop was developed as an answer to integrity and ethics challenges in corruption cases that not only weaken the rule of law but also threaten society as a whole. Ongoing support to developing national and regional capacities to prevent and effectively address corruption has long been a priority for UNODC. Indeed, it continues to represent a major obstacle in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it hampers stability, rule of law and institutional integrity.

The CRIMJUST project seeks to enhance the capacities and integrity of criminal justice institutions for regional and inter-regional cooperation to tackle drug trafficking and transnational organized crime cases, and collaborates closely with anti-corruption bodies and institutions.

For more information:

The Nigerian Drugs Project

CRIMJUST

West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP)

UNODC ROSEN

UNODC Nigeria