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Enhancing Financial Investigation Capabilities of Law Enforcement Agencies to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing 

Naivasha (Kenya) – 04 December 2023 – It is imperative to comprehend the driving forces behind money laundering and terrorism financing to determine the targeted sectors and the most commonly employed methods or typologies used in these crimes. This understanding is crucial for developing adequate detection mechanisms and responses and comprehending the risk profiles for countries and financial sectors. The primary objective of money laundering is to generate usable profit by integrating the "dirty money" earned through criminal activities into the financial system and making it appear legitimate. To distance themselves from the crime, those involved in money laundering must conduct a series of transactions, making it almost impossible to track the origins of the funds. Money launderers try to place these funds in sectors that are unlikely to draw attention, primarily if the crime is closely related to the money. Similar methods are employed by trying to distance themselves from terrorism financing transactions. The difficulty in identifying transactions related to terrorism financing, however, stems from a combination of factors, including the presence of both legal and illegal sources of funds and the relatively small transaction values involved. These factors make it challenging to identify such transactions without conducting an in-depth investigation that provides the necessary context.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), fortified by the consistent support of the Canadian government, has successfully conducted a rigorous and comprehensive workshop on Enhancing Financial Investigations through Intelligence, International, and Regional Cooperation. The program aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter to authorities from seven Kenyan Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). The participating agencies included the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Financial Reporting Centre (FRC), National Counterterrorism Center, Assets Recovery Agency, Joint Counter Terrorism Analysis Centre, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Revenue Authority. The mentorship program was a resounding success, and positive feedback was received from the participants. The acquired knowledge and skills will undoubtedly empower them to tackle financial crime in their respective fields with renewed confidence and expertise. 

The program brought together government officials and experts in the fields of AML/CFT. It provided an excellent opportunity for LEAs to discuss the money laundering trends in Kenya and the operational gaps and challenges in prosecuting the crime compared to its predicate offenses. With delegates from seven agencies, the discussions were lively and focused on their unique mandates. The participants emphasized their joint contribution towards deterring and investigating financial offenses, exchanging ideas, and presenting their views with conviction and assertiveness. 

During the closing remarks, Ms. Atuweni-Tupochile Agbermodji, GPML Adviser for UNODC, expressed her admiration for the unwavering dedication and commitment of the authorities in combating financial crime and its links to transnational organized crime and terrorism. She commended the authorities for their proactive approach to enhancing their skills through inter-agency cooperation to conduct financial investigations. Ms. Agbermodji underscored the importance of the unique roles played by the authorities in promoting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 16 and 17. The former aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and provide access to justice for all, while the latter focuses on building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels to strengthen the global partnership for sustainable development. She emphasized that fulfilling these two SDGs is paramount and requires a collective effort from all stakeholders.

The mentorship program's success is a testament to the UNODC's unwavering commitment to providing rigorous and informative training programs to enhance law enforcement agencies' abilities in addressing financial crimes. The knowledge and skills gained by the participants will have a significant impact on their work, leading to a reduction in financial crimes in the region.