The commonwealth Secretariat in London is presently holding a high-level workshop in Abuja, Nigeria as part of the plans to eradicate corruption, terrorism and money laundering in the world.
The four-day training workshop that will last till the weekend in Abuja is organised for prosecutors and investigators on effectively dealing with corruption, terrorism-related cases and its financing, money laundering and recovering the proceeds of crime.
The training will also focus on the safety of informants and witnesses going through the criminal justice process and preserving the rights of the accused in the investigation and prosecution of serious complex crimes.
Fifty-three participants drawn from Nigeria federal prosecutorial agencies and the judiciary will attend the workshop. Technical experts and practitioners, including renowned senior silks, barristers and forensic experts from the UK and the Africa region, will deliver the training and conduct practical exercises.
The workshop in Nigeria follows a similar initiative in Pretoria, South Africa, in September and Colombo, Sri Lanka, in December where the Commonwealth focused on addressing systemic corruption, international co-operation, the deficiencies in the criminalisation of money laundering and terrorist financing and strengthening the capacity of agencies to investigate and prosecute serious crimes.
Further workshops on corruption and economic crimes are planned for Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific.
Meanwhile, Shadrach Haruna, Legal Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat and workshop co-ordinator, said at the opening of the event yesterday that: "There is difficulty in attracting foreign direct investment when financial and economic crimes are thriving within a country.
"If you allow criminals to thrive then you will not have the desired development you are looking for."
Mr Haruna said the legal and administrative framework to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism is ineffective, unco-ordinated and weak in many countries. The workshop aims to enhance the understanding, build closer interaction, co-ordination and exchange of information, among criminal justice agencies.
His words: "We want to ensure that the criminal justice officials, investigators and prosecutors understand the concept and dynamics of these crimes and how to investigate and also work together in a co-ordinated manner to investigate and prosecute them successfully.
"One crime could encompass several offences, including money laundering and the financing of terrorism, so we want criminal justice agencies to come together and understand there is a need for a multi-agency/disciplinary approach to investigations and prosecutions."
"Money laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism can threaten a country's financial stability and its development, undermining the integrity of financial institutions, discouraging foreign investors and draining essential resources. In an increasingly globalised world these negative effects can also spill over to other countries and economies"
"As these crimes become increasingly prevalent in Commonwealth countries many states are facing new legislative, institutional and operational challenges to combat them"