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African Prosecutor’s Association and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime hold a joint Conference on Combating Transnational Organised Crime through Asset Forfeiture

 
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African Prosecutor’s Association and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime hold a joint Conference on Combating Transnational Organised Crime through Asset Forfeiture
by Kudzai Chinoda - Tuesday, 10 March 2020, 9:22 AM
 

African Prosecutor’s Association and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime hold a joint Conference on Combating Transnational Organised Crime through Asset Forfeiture

PRETORIA, 6 February 2020 – A three-day high-level combating transnational organised crime and enhancing asset forfeiture conference jointly organised by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime in Southern Africa and the African Prosecutors Association, in co-operation with UK Department For International Development and United States, International Narcotics Law Programmes was concluded in Pretoria. This workshop was part of a bigger initiative that included the deployment of mentors, national and regional workshops and the development of training manuals. Together, all of these initiatives are aimed to help  to achieve the 2030 Agenda advancing the targets and indicators of SDG 1, SDG 8, SDG12, SDG14 and 15. This workshop also addressed SDG 16 and 16.4 that deals with Illicit Financial Flows.

More than 45 representatives from 16 Member States, international and regional organizations, discussed and shared experiences on different approaches to combat the challenges posed by transnational organised crimes using asset forfeiture.  

Ms. Zhuldyz Akisheva representative of the UNODC Southern Africa delivered her opening remarks in the presence of Ben Llewelyn-Jones, the Deputy British High Commissioner to South Africa,  Ms Shamilla Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions for South Africa, Counsellor George Saad, Deputy Prosecutor General of Egypt also the current President of African Prosecutors Association and David Bargueno, a representative from the US Embassy in South Africa.  

Ms. Shamila Batohi thanked the African Prosecutors Association and the UNODC for co-organizing the conference in cooperation with the UK DFID and INL. She also praised those who contributed to the success of this landmark conference through their leadership, participation and financial contributions.

The conference was a follow-up to the MoU agreement signed between APA and UNODC in Angola in November 2016. It was also part of a wider initiative to give a new push to multilateral co-operation in addressing the ever-evolving threat of transnational organised crime especially wildlife crime.

The conference emphasized the need to engage proactively with International and regional networks and partner organizations who provide platforms that can complement and facilitate cooperation prior to the mutual legal assistance process. These entities provide FIUs and law enforcement agencies with informal contact points from other member jurisdictions. 

The conference stressed the need to further strengthen international, regional and bilateral efforts to combat transnational organised crime through cooperation that is based on international law.

Conference participants underscored the need to put measures in place for public prosecution authorities and law enforcement entities to collaborate with their counterparts. They also emphasised the need to use the international, regional and bilateral cooperation instruments for sharing information and facilitating forfeiture and recovery of assets. The participants highlighted the need to use special procedures for the facilitation of the forfeiture of assets. It was recommended that tools such as rapid freezing powers, non-conviction based forfeiture, reversal of burden of proof, illicit enrichment provisions, unexplained wealth orders and civil remedies that have already been developed and successfully used by various jurisdictions in the region to secure and confiscate illicitly acquired assets are employed wherever possible.

Participants also called for innovative and efficient means of delivering training and identified training tools such as e-learning for enhancing asset forfeiture.  

Finally, participants agreed that elements of this conference will feed into the African Prosecutor’s Association Annual General Meeting, to be held in Egypt later this year. UNODC and APA reiterated their readiness to strengthen cooperation to combat transnational wildlife crimes. Participants acknowledged that there are existing initiatives to combat wildlife crime and that the UNODC was ready to support Member States through all-of-UN approaches. This would be in collaboration with partners, such as INL, DFID and the private sector to address the particularly challenging issues related to transnational organised crimes and asset forfeiture related to wildlife crime.



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