Building the Capacity of the Lao PDR State Inspection Agency (SIA) to Conduct Financial Crime Investigations

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Vientiane (Lao PDR), 9 December 2022 -  While any criminal investigation poses challenges to law enforcement agencies, the investigation of corruption and money laundering are unique, as there are rarely direct victims to report it.

In order to strengthen the ability of the Lao PDR State Inspection Authority (SIA) to conduct financial crime investigations, UNODC ROSEAP collaborated with the SIA to conduct a Financial Crime Investigation Training from 5-9 December 2022 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Vientiane. The training was designed to meet the needs of the SIA, specifically, to address potential deficiencies in the investigative capacity of the agency that were previously identified through a training needs analysis.

The workshop gathered 36 participants from 12 government agencies namely: The SIA, Ministry of Public Security (MoPS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, National Assembly, The Office of the Supreme People’s Prosecutor (OSPP), The People's Supreme Court, State Audit Organization, Anti-Money Laundering Intelligence Office (AMLIO), Bank of Lao PDR (BOL), and The President's Office

Throughout the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to work closely together through major daily exercises, discussing and brainstorming methods to enhance their capacity for the detection, investigation, analysis, and disruption of illegal financial flows in corruption-related crime. 

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The workshop focused on the following core elements: Bribery & corruption techniques, money laundering typologies, investigation strategies and techniques, and investigation management. The SIA also delivered presentations for a half-day on investigations and anti-corruption techniques.

Active participation is a vital component of the workshop and the various exercises undertaken were designed to ensure maximum participation and information sharing. The major exercise of the workshop covered the core components of a corruption investigation. Working in groups, the participants were afforded the opportunity to share their individual knowledge. At the conclusion of the training, participants presented their solutions and proposed courses of action to conduct financial crime investigations. Ultimately, participants gained a thorough understanding of how to conduct a corruption investigation involving money laundering.

This Financial Crime Investigation Workshop is part of ongoing support to strengthen anti-corruption systems in nine countries across Southeast Asia, including Lao PDR. These systems bring together anti-corruption authorities, oversight institutions, and procurement bodies to enhance the transparency of public institutions, strengthen whistle-blower protection, and better address national anti-corruption challenges.

This training was part of activities funded by the Ministry of Justice of the Government of the Republic of Korea.