20-23 June 2022 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and INTERPOL held a joint training on “Transnational Drug Trafficking Financial Investigations” in Lagos, to 24 investigators and prosecutors from The Gambia, Nigeria and Ghana. This regional training aimed to prioritize financial investigations and asset forfeiture as part of cross-border drug trafficking investigations. It was delivered under the framework of the CRIMJUST – Criminal Disruption Network Programme, in partnership with UNODC’s “Response to Drugs and Related Organised Crime in Nigeria” and funded by the European Union (EU).
Over the course of four days, experts combined theory and tabletop exercises to strengthen participants’ understanding and capacity to conduct financial investigations in parallel to their criminal investigations into drug trafficking offences. Training modules drew upon real case scenarios to demonstrate best practices and tools to effectively utilize financial intelligence as well as to facilitate international cooperation as part of asset recovery. These sessions were complemented by presentations from guest speakers from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Together, these different modules aimed to enhance investigators and prosecutors’ capacity to trace proceeds of crime, identify benefactors of illicit trafficking and secure confiscation. Each of the three countries also to delivered a briefing containing an overview of relevant legislation, disseminating case studies of financial investigations linked to drug trafficking and outlining challenges facing law enforcement and prosecution agencies in disrupting financial flows.
Following this training, 75 per cent of participants reported the activity to be extremely useful, and 25 per cent useful.
The training marks a shift in CRIMJUST’s programmatic strategy towards placing a stronger emphasis on the use of financial intelligence, tools and investigative techniques to both initiate and bolster investigations into organized crime. It joins UNODC efforts in supporting countries implement measures to address the financial dimension of crime and to deprive criminals of any illicit gains in line with the Kyoto Declaration on “Advancing Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice and the Rule of Law” (March 2021).
Providing technical assistance and fostering international cooperation to support member-states target proceeds of crime is a chief priority for both UNODC and the EU. Not only do these proceeds undermine legitimate financial institutions and processes, but they also provide further revenue for organized crime groups to pursue and expand their criminal activities. Moving forward, the CRIMJUST Global Programme is looking to bolster its work under the framework of the EU’s Global Illicit Flows Programme (GIFP) to strengthen participating countries’ knowledge and employment of financial crime actions and strategies to disrupt transnational illicit trafficking.
This CRIMJUST activity was funded by the European Union under the framework of the "Global Illicit Flows Programme" [GIFP]. It seeks to enhance law enforcement and judicial counter-narcotic strategies beyond interdiction activities and to foster transnational responses targeting each stage of the illicit supply chain.
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