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Law academic advises Papua New Guinea magistrates on combatting financial crime.

Supported by the British High Commission in Port Moresby, Alexander Mills’ workshop also involved magistrates from Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

Credit Card Fraud: Visa and Master cards with a thumbprint

On the 21st and 22nd March 2016, Senior Lecturer in The City Law School, Alexander Mills, delivered the first training workshop to magistrates from across Papua New Guinea (PNG) on money laundering and the proceeds of crime.

Alex MillsThe workshop, which was supported by the British High Commission in Port Moresby, also involved magistrates from Fiji and the Solomon Islands. It followed a similar workshop that was delivered by Alex and His Honour, Judge Michael Hopmeier, to the senior PNG judiciary in March 2015.

Financial Action Task Force ‘grey list’

The workshop covered money laundering, its links to bribery and corruption, the powers to remove the proceeds of crime, legal and constitutional arguments connected to the proceeds of crime, and proceeds of crime investigations, including the use of social media. It was particularly timely because the anti-money laundering and proceeds of crime regime has recently been strengthened through five new pieces of legislation to tackle PNG’s place on the Financial Action Task Force ‘grey list’:

  • Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Act 2015
  • Criminal Code (Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2015
  • United Nations Financial Sanctions Act 2015
  • Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Act 2015
  • Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2015

Magistrates were given the opportunity to discuss practical scenarios and to rule upon mock applications using the new legislation. This was followed up on 23rd March by a day of training for local prosecutors, delivered by Alex, on the same topics.

High-quality training

This judicial training follows similar judicial training that Alex has delivered to judges in Zanzibar and Tanzania on taking the proceeds from wildlife crime, on behalf of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He has also trained judges from across Southern and Eastern Africa in a regional workshop in Namibia on behalf of the UNODC, which was supported by the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group. He is due to train judges in Lesotho in July 2016.

Professor Peter Hungerford-Welch, Assistant Dean at the City Law School, said:

“The importance of tackling money laundering cannot be overstated. Alex is making a very important contribution to the fight against money laundering through the training that he is providing to the judiciary and prosecutors of several countries. The feedback from the delegates confirms that the training which Alex provides is of the highest quality. The City Law School is proud to support Alex in this vital work”.

Money laundering

Money laundering is the generic term used to describe the process by which criminals disguise the original ownership and control of the proceeds of criminal conduct by making such proceeds appear to have derived from a legitimate source. The processes by which criminally derived property may be laundered are extensive. Though criminal money may be successfully laundered without the assistance of the financial sector, the reality is that hundreds of billions of dollars of criminally derived money is laundered through financial institutions, annually. The nature of the services and products offered by the financial services industry (namely managing, controlling and possessing money and property belonging to others) means that it is vulnerable to abuse by money launderers.

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