The Director General of GIABA, Mr. Kimelabalou Aba has called for regional collaboration against corruption and other financial crimes. He made this harge at the opening of a 4-day regional training workshop on the Investigation and Prosecution of Corruption Cases, held in Niamey, Niger.
The GIABA Director General reiterated that the fight against corruption rests on the strength of existing national capacities to carry out effective investigation and prosecution of corrupt practices. He noted that there had been low level implementation of the relevant instruments on corruption, particularly with regard to the investigation and prosecution for corruption, as well as confiscation and/or repatriation of the proceeds of corruption. He attributed lack of political will to prosecute certain cases; inadequate law enforcement infrastructure, personnel and ineffective training for available personnel; corruption among law enforcement and judicial personnel, and other forms of corruption; weaknesses and discrepancies in laws; inadequate (light) sentences for offenders in most member States; weak judicial systems; inadequate exchange of information with source and destination countries; mistrust in information management / poor information management; and poor coordination at the domestic and international level in dealing with mutual legal assistance in criminal matters to the current state of affairs.
He therefore noted that the training workshop would provide the participants with the skills to efficiently and effectively investigate, prosecute and adjudicate corruption and corruption-related criminal offences. According to him, through the workshop, participants would become abreast of international developments in the fight against corruption, particularly the UNCAC and best practices in fighting corruption; enhance their skills and capacities to effectively investigate and prosecute corruption related cases; share experiences on the status of implementation of anti-corruption initiatives, including challenges in the investigation and prosecution of corruption in their countries; as well as promote cooperation and coordination among competent authorities in the region on issues relating to investigations and prosecution of AML/CFT cases.
He further expressed hope that the workshop would engender stronger collaboration between member States in the regions efforts to fight against corruption. “I am optimistic that through strong collaboration and coordinated efforts, we can achieve more concrete results in our fight against corruption and transnational organised crime,” he said.
In his opening speech, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Republic of Niger, represented by Mr. Chaibu Mamane, the Director of Cabinet, thanked GIABA for organizing the training workshop in Niger. He noted that the fight against corruption and other forms of financial crimes constitute a major preoccupation of the Nigerien government. He also noted that the government will not leave any stone unturned in seeking the eradication of the malaise. He highlighted the various steps that the government was taking in its AML/CFT efforts, including the establishment of new laws and anti-corruption organisation. He urged the participants to use the training to upgrade their skills, for the betterment of the region.
Earlier in his welcome address, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit in Niger, Mr. Hassane Taher underscored the challenges posed by organised crimes, noting that corruption destabilises the security of the society and limits social, political and economic development of countries. He therefore noted that the fight against organised crimes is intricately linked with anti-money laundering efforts. While commending GIABA for the initiative, he noted that effective anti-money laundering efforts require increased international collaboration.
About 52 participants drawn from the 15 ECOWAS member states are attending the programme.