Awareness raising workshop on financial investigations and asset recovery in Mali
Money-laundering and the financing of terrorist activities have become two interconnected issues national authorities are increasingly faced with, particularly in the terrorist-prone Sahel region. To help tackle these new challenges, the UNODC Global Programme against Money-Laundering, the Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) delivers technical assistance activities to strengthen national capacities to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.
An awareness-raising workshop on financial investigations and asset recovery was therefore organized in Bamako, Mali, from 22 to 24 November 2016, with the logistical support of the FIU of Mali and the financial support of the Government of Luxembourg. The trainers, mentored by the UNODC Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Regional Adviser, Kodjo Attisso, had been previously identified during similar workshops held in Spring which had, according to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), led to improvements in the reporting of suspicious transactions.
A total of 23 participants representing the FIU, the Police, the Gendarmerie, Customs and other competent law enforcement authorities attended the workshop. The three-day workshop was opened by Mrs Sidibé Jamillatou Cissé, Secretary general at the Ministry of Economy and Finance who emphasized that law enforcement and judicial authorities in Mali have significant needs of training in financial investigation and assets recovery related matters. Generally, investigations and prosecutions in Mali focus on securing the imprisonment of criminals without taking into consideration the proceeds derived from the crimes.
Mr. Marimpa Samoura, the President of the FIU, echoed the needs of financial investigation training and expressed his gratitude to UNODC for its various AML/CFT capacity building activities targeting relevant authorities in Mali. The Representative of the Government of Luxembourg, Jacques Hoffmann, stressed that financial investigation ensures that crime does not pay and highlighted the importance of triggering a sort of autonomic reflex in investigators in order to know where to look for information to build a solid report in a money laundering case.
The workshop incorporated practical sessions on a number of relevant topics including international and national framework to combat ML/FT, techniques of financial investigation and international cooperation. Sessions were also dedicated a new thematic for Mali: the management of seized and confiscated criminal assets. A French police officer, Francis Mardonao, from the Agency for management and recovery of seized and confiscated asset (AGRASC) joined the GPML Regional Adviser to facilitate the workshop.
In 2016, UNODC Global Programme against Money-Laundering, the Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) delivered several technical assistance activities in Mali, in order to strengthen the national capacities to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism (ML/FT). In spring, thanks to the support of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), four workshops were organized to train a pool of national practitioners to be themselves trainers on financial investigations. In parallel, thanks to the support of the Government of Luxembourg, the reporting entities were trained to be aware of their role in combating ML/FT.
These training activities were delivered in the framework of the UNODC Sahel Programme, which constitutes the UNODC Contribution to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), launched by the UN Security Council in 2012 in response to the conflicts in Libya (2011) and Mali (2012).