Despite the alarming political, economic, and social impact of public asset theft, the world of asset recovery remains a mystery to the general public.
Asset recovery consists of finding and repatriating the proceeds of corruption hidden in foreign jurisdictions. We work to return those assets (money, luxury vehicles, mansions,…) to the citizens of the country from where the assets were stolen.
The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC chapter V) it “the process by which the proceeds of corruption transferred abroad are recovered and repatriated to the country from which they were taken or to their rightful owners.”
The AU says as much as $50 billion dollars is lost through corrupt African leaders and their families . That’s a lot of money. Don’t you think it’s about time we learn how to recover those funds? Working with public and private partners around the world to prevent and combat corruption, our programme of work on asset recovery comprises action, advice, and research across many anti-corruption themes.
Yes, there are a lot of the stolen loot from Africa holed up in secure offshore accounts or European vaults. We need to get them back! Our assets recovery courses strengthen and support the capacities of AU Member States countries to recover stolen public assets.
We are uniquely placed to provide hands-on support to partner agencies across the world in tackling complex financial crime schemes.
Our world-wide network and team of asset recovery specialists is made up of people who’s been there and know how it’s done, before they saw the ‘light of Damascus’, former and present politicians, prosecutors, lawyers, and financial investigators.
The course covers the legal, operational and public-private partnership actions that needs to be pursued to deliver a step change in Africa’s ability to tackle economic crime and undermine the ability of serious and organised criminals to operate.
1. The stolen money belongs to all of us, especially to our children.
2. Repatriated monies can be invested on a lot social programs that can benefit the people. In fact, countries around the world have managed to repatriate stolen assets and invest in anti-poverty projects such as in Tunisia and Nigeria.
3. It is possible to stop the theft of public money and return stolen assets. Asset recovery cases are increasing significantly around Africa. Plenty of Abacha money has been returned to the Nigerian government.
What Do You Get To Learn From the Courses?
Well …. that is the theory. In practice, the process of asset recovery is exceedingly complicated. Criminals know how to hide stolen loot, especially with the assistance of the receiving banks. Asset recovery requires technical skills and specialist legal knowledge. International cooperation, political will and persistence are key, because assets are often laundered in complex chains through multiple jurisdictions. These skills and expertise are still rare in many of our African countries, especially those that suffer most from corruption. And that is where we come in.
You will get to know how to gather intelligence and trace financial transactions. You will learn how to obtain evidence, including evidence from beyond where the assets were stolen. Trials need to be held, legal strategies formed, confiscation orders issued. And when assets are returned, they need safeguarding.
Through bespoke and interactive training courses, AU Watch expert training team helps organisations, the AU, AU Member States develop the knowledge and skills to investigate, report and prosecute corruption and recover stolen assets.
AU Watch training concept is based around:
Participants work together on real-life tasks, such as “following the trail of the money” and gathering and preparing evidence in simulated investigations. This group dynamic helps facilitate inter-agency cooperation.
1)Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery
This is AU Watch’s signature training programme, designed to enhance skills to analyse, investigate and prosecute complex corruption offences, financial crime and money laundering cases, and to recover criminal proceeds. The centrepiece is an extensive hands-on practical exercise in which the participants conduct a country-specific simulated investigation. It incorporates complex corruption and money laundering schemes, and following the money trail.
Applying a participatory approach, the training material used in the programme is presented and reinforced through three complimentary learning styles:
The participants are divided into investigative teams, working as independent task force groups for the whole duration of the programme. Group discussions focus on key topical areas, identify problems that have occurred in actual cases, arrive at potential solutions and compare international standards to the country-specific issues.
The simulated case involves the analysis of large volumes of data, gathering and assembling evidence in a manner ready for presentation at trial, and establishing a basis for the confiscation of assets. This practical exercise incorporates relevant country-specific criminal statutes and provisions, commercial and banking records and enforcement procedures.
The participants learn how to utilise criminal investigative techniques to identify the witnesses and evidence that will be used to prove each of the elements of a money laundering and corruption violation, and to direct an asset recovery action. This work is conducted in an automated environment using computer applications to perform portions of the financial analysis.
Following the completion of the investigative stage, the participants are required to organise and assemble the evidence for prosecution. The learning process takes place through a combination of the practical exercise and relevant blocks of instruction interspersed at appropriate intervals to provide the participants with the necessary skills to successfully complete the simulated investigation.
2) Interviewing Skills for Financial Investigators
A critical component of any investigation is the ability to obtain credible and accurate information, regardless whether the interview involves potential suspects, a victim, or peripheral witness. This AU Watch training programme focuses on interviewing techniques that relate to the questioning of a selection of such individuals. The emphasis is on developing interviewing skills, targeting financial information in particular. It draws upon concepts included in various recognised methodologies such as Cognitive Interview Method and the PEACE (Preparation and Planning; Engage and Explain; Account; Closure; and Evaluate) system as well as the personal experiences of the instructors.
The PEACE (Preparation and Planning; Engage and Explain; Account; Closure; and Evaluate) interviewing technique was developed in the United Kingdom and is now widely used by law enforcement personnel around the world. The Cognitive Interview Method is designed to help the witness recollect as much detail as possible, and to recreate the context of an event to stimulate the person’s memory.
The training programme draws upon both these techniques, combining lecture modules, examples and extensive practical interviewing exercises. The participants learn to apply various principles through a hypothetical case involving a whistle blower, losing bidder, bribe payer, other associates and the bribe recipient. Based on documents relating to the case such as diary entries, cell phone records, handwritten notes and financial records, they learn to develop an interview outline and conduct interviews. The training emphasises the importance of creating event timelines, establishing the sources and authenticity of documents, the exploitation of document information and tracing financial details.
AU Watch Regional Judicial Ethics Training
We are dedicated to the development and training of an international network of legal and judicial professionals committed to advancing the rule of law. Through innovative training programs and other activities, we work with judges, lawyers, and civil society actors to build laws-based societies. AU Watch prides itself on the diversity and quality of the programs it has developed, the peer to peer exchanges it fosters, the innovative nature of its programming, and its legacy of contributing to the advancement of the rule of law in Africa. Our efforts are focused on creating independent, transparent, and effective judiciaries, strengthening democratic institutions, fostering efforts to combat corruption, bridging difficult conflicts, promoting human rights, and supporting lawyers and civil society actors in repressive environments.
This activity is part of AU Watch’s regional human rights Program for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration which was adopted by the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2015. The Declaration reaffirms Member States’ commitment to: “Make every effort to prevent and counter corruption, and to implement measures aimed at enhancing transparency in public administration and promoting the integrity and accountability of our criminal justice systems, in accordance with the UN Convention against Corruption.”
The training tools are aimed at providing newly appointed and serving members of the judiciary with a solid understanding of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and the requirements of article 11 of the UN Convention against Corruption
About the Course
The course focuses on the six core values recognized in the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, incorporating principles espoused by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The modules provide a great deal of analytical detail regarding each Bangalore Principle, allowing the users to test their knowledge and learning at every stage of the course.
Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Training
Training on prevention and combating corruption for government officials, representatives of law enforcement, private sector, and civil society.
About this Course
Improving the quality of management of public and private institutions requires citizens, professionals and politicians that are highly trained and sensitized to the modern phenomenon of good governance, which has consolidated a shift towards a more open and transparent relationship between institutions and citizenship.
The learners should learn from this course:
• Anti-corruption strategies, anti-corruption bodies, international and regional anti-corruption initiatives;
• Integrity in public and private sector;
• Codes of conduct, conflict of interest;
• Public Procurement;
• Confiscation and recovery of assets, mutual legal assistance and extradition;
• Corruption and anti-corruption assessment;
• Anti-corruption proofing of new legislation;
• Criminalization of corruption.
Module 1. Anti-corruption initiatives, strategies, and bodies
Module 2. Integrity in public and private sector
Module 3. Codes of conduct, conflict of interest
Module 4. Tools of judicial cooperation
Module 5. Anti-corruption proofing of new legislation
Module 6. Criminalization of corruption
The course equips participants with:
• a deeper understanding of the intricacies of corruption
• enhanced skill sets to assess best practices and cross-sectoral challenges
• tools to help bridge the gap between anti-corruption theory and practice
• frameworks for devising sustainable anti-corruption strategies
• exposure to the latest research and case studies from leading global experts
• the opportunity to exchange experiences and develop a strong network.
An intensive, interdisciplinary programme that addresses trends and practices on the global anti-corruption agenda and promotes a culture of the reflective practitioner. Participants benefit from high-level peer discussion and subsequently can apply for other professional courses.
Creating Anti-Corruption Measures to Improve Government Transparency & Accountability
Course Description: Corruption presents a variety of unique challenges for both private and public sector managers. It is estimated that costs associated with corruption exceed 5% of global GDP, with more than $1 trillion paid in bribes each year. IP3 has designed a unique one-week course specifically focused on increasing awareness for managers tasked with enhancing the integrity of their organizations and overcoming the resistance to change commonly encountered when implementing anti-corruption policies and procedures.
This course also provides participants with an understanding of the theoretical, legal, and operational concepts related to corruption as well as practical means to develop effective strategies for dealing with this very complex issue. Additionally, the course demonstrates how new technologies, social media and strategic communications can be incorporated into effective anti-corruption strategies. At the end of this course, participants will be able to develop practical plans and polices necessary to effectively enhance the integrity of their respective organizations and environment.
E-mail: [email protected]
We have a feeling that you know how important asset recovery is to the development of Africa. Help us fight to bring back money to the people. Here are a few ways you can help the cause:
• Become a member of AU Watch and assist us set up a chapter where you are to hold your government accountable.
• Assess the work of your government: Does you country have an asset recovery office? What does this office do? Have assets been recovered yet?
• Write for us. Use unique talents to make a difference via advocacy, blogging, people engagement, IT etc…
• Work together on specific cases and with investigative journalists to expose ongoing transnational corruption and gather evidence that could be presented at court.
• Contact public officials to make asset recovery a priority on their agenda.
Support AU Watch’s efforts to ensure transparency, recovery public assets and prevent theft by getting involved. Feel free to contact us with any questions that you have about asset recovery or our efforts.