The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the European Union and International Police have jointly launched a Euro 1.3-million programme to fight money laundering.
This is a part of the larger EU-sponsored Euro 37.5 million programme that was developed to combat piracy and increase maritime security in 2014.
The Maritime Security programme is implemented by COMESA, East African Community, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, and the Indian Ocean Community.
The launch of the new partnership with Interpol was conducted yesterday at the COMESA headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia by the Assistant Secretary General in charge of programmes COMESA, Dr Kipyego Cheluget, the Head of Political, Press and Information at the EU Delegation to Zambia, Rune Skinnebach, and Interpol Senior Project Manager Dimitrios Souxes.
Under the partnership, Interpol will be implementing one of the objectives of the COMESA component within the framework of an Implementation Agreement signed between the two organisations in 2015, according to a statement.
Specifically, Interpol will support investigative capacity building of law enforcement agencies in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Region in the area of financial crimes at the national and international levels.
The COMESA component will address the whole range of processes in the fight against money laundering.
COMESA has been involved in building the analytical capacity of Financial Intelligence Units of the members that were most affected by piracy.
It is also supporting its members to develop or amend their anti-money laundering (combating financing of terrorism) laws to comply with international standards as defined by the Financial Action Taskforce.
The Head of the European Union Delegation to Zambia and special representative to COMESA, Amb. Alessandro Mariani, in a statement, expressed satisfaction on the progress made in the implementation of the programme.
He was particularly delighted at the entry of Interpol in the implementation of the programme. Mariani expressed hope that Interpol involvement would greatly benefit the programme.
"I am very pleased that we and COMESA can benefit from Interpol's technical expertise and tools in the context of this ambitious regional programme, which I am convinced will be instrumental in the fight against money laundering and the financing of illicit activities," he said.