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Tracking the proceeds of crime

Alexander Mills travelled to Africa to educate prosecutors on how to tackle money laundering and confiscate criminal assets
by Sophie

Alexander Mills, a lecturer at The City Law School, has delivered crucial training to top prosecutors in Namibia who are responsible for trying to prevent organised crime.

The programme focused on money laundering and the confiscation of criminal assets. Over the course of five days, Alex was involved in the training of just under 60 prosecutors, financial investigators, police officers and revenue officials.

nullDespite the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (2004) having been on the statute book in the country for more than a decade, there has not yet been a money laundering prosecution and only a handful of confiscation orders have been made.

Alex (pictured, left), a lecturer on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at City, says the programme of training is crucial:

"The hiding of the proceeds of crime is a problem across the world. Banks are under increasing pressure to scrutinise the legitimacy of deposits, and so criminals need to find increasingly sophisticated ways of retaining their ill-gotten gains. Police and prosecutors in every country need to send out a strong message that every step will be taken to remove the proceeds of crime, wherever and however they are hidden. Training programmes such as this provide prosecution authorities with the invaluable opportunity to develop the tools that are necessary to do so".

The basis for the week's work was a complex case scenario involving an organised crime syndicate, based in Hong Kong, conspiring to export protected animal products and import drugs. Each day focussed on a different topic which enabled participants to take the case through from investigation, to successful prosecution and finally, to the confiscation of assets.

"The workshop was a great success, with excellent feedback from the participants. By the end of the week prosecutors told us that they had identified potential targets for the country's first Anti-Money Laundering prosecutions."

The workshop was organised by ARINSA (Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa) and the UNODC on behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor General in Namibia. The Honourable Tommy Nambahu, Deputy Minister for Justice, delivered a keynote speech and stayed for two days to discuss further the development of a judicial training facility in Namibia.

Earlier this year, Alex was invited by The Commonwealth Secretariat to address officials in Africa on the subject of corruption, financial crime and money laundering. He spoke with senior prosecutors from across the south and east of the continent. Alex will be training prosecutors in the Maldives later in the year.

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