Financial investigations and asset recovery workshops in Niger and Burkina Faso


Money-laundering and terrorist financing have become two interconnected challenges increasingly facing national authorities, particularly in the terrorist-prone Sahel region. To assist countries to tackle these scourges, the UNODC Global Programme against Money-Laundering, the Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) delivers technical assistance to strengthen national capacities to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

In this context, UNODC organized two national workshops on financial investigation and asset recovery, respectively in Niamey, Niger (28-30 November 2017) and in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (5-7 December 2017). These workshops aimed at strengthening the capacities of law enforcement and judicial authorities to fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. A total of 54 participants, 29 in Niamey and 25 in Ouagadougou, from the Financial Intelligence Units (FIU), Police, Gendarmerie, Customs, judges, prosecutors and other competent law enforcement authorities attended the three-day workshops.

Ms. Sanady Tchimaden Hadatan, the president of the Niger FIU, opened the workshop in Niamey, while Ms. Marie Beatrice Tassimbedo Tapsoba, president of the Burkina Faso FIU opened the one in Ouagadougou. Both FIUs supported the organization of these workshops and expressed their gratitudes to UNODC for its continued technical assistance delivery which helps to build the capacity of law enforcement and judicial autorities.

Group photo of the participants in Niamey, Niger
Group photo of the participants in Niamey, Niger

The workshops were delivered by national trainers mentored by Mr. Kodjo Attisso, the UNODC Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Regional Adviser for West Africa. The training workshops incorporated practical sessions on a number of relevant topics including financial investigation techniques, international cooperation, mechanisms of recovery of proceeds of crime.

Sessions were also tailored to the needs of Niger and Burkina Faso in terms of AML/CFT, and emphasized on methods to identify and calculate illegal or unknown revenues. Participants appreciated the relevance of the exercise allowing an effective application of the skills acquired during the workshops. They also acknowledged the expertise and pedagogy of the national trainers.

In the past years, GPML has been delivering several technical assistance activities in Niger and Burkina Faso to enhance national capacities to combat effectively and efficiently money laundering and terrorist financing, in November 2016 in Niger and March-April 2017 in Burkina Faso. Thanks to the support of the US Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), four workshops were organized in each country to train a pool of national practitioners on AML/CFT and financial investigation.

Group photo of the participants in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Group photo of the participants in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

At the end of the training programme, 12 trainers in Niger and 10 in Burkina Faso were identified and certified AML/CFT and financial investigation. Those were some of the national trainers (7 in Niger and 4 in Burkina Faso) who delivered the last two workshops on financial investigation and asset recovery.

Thanks to the support of the Government of Luxembourg, the reporting entities (banks, microfinance, insurance, dealers of precious stones, real estate, forex bureau, notaries, etc.) in Niger and Burkina were trained to be aware of their paramount roles in combating money laundering and terrorist financing

All 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).