The regional meeting for African Law Enforcement officials (AFR LEO) hosted by the DPSA’s Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (PAEIDTAU) in partnership with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) in Tshwane, South Africa from 15 to 17 November 2022 ended on a high note today.

The meeting’s main objective was to assist law enforcement professionals working on corruption cases in developing their skills and learning about contemporary investigation and prosecution procedures. Participants were provided with an opportunity to learn more about the Fusion Centre and its participating agencies during a field trip to the FIC offices where the Fusion Centre is located.

During the field trip the Director of the FIC, Adv. Xolisile Khanyile, said the seminar was to give the attendees a chance to learn more about the governance and operational structure of the Fusion Centre. The first portion of the meeting gave the representatives a chance to interact with the South African Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Taskforce (SAMLIT), which is made up of public institutions and South African banks.

The Fusion Centre is a public collaboration/partnership that enables improved cooperation with law enforcement agencies for exchanging intelligence across all levels and sectors of government. It is made up of Intelligence agencies including the FIC, State Security Agency, National Intelligence Coordinating Committee, and SAPS Crime Intelligence. It is also made up of investigative agencies composed of DPCI, SAPS Detective Services and prosecuting authorities such as the NPA and criminal recoveries, Asset Forfeiture Unit including the South Africa Revenue Services, and the forensic investigation and litigation agency such as the Special Investigation Unit.

The Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) Executive Committee and Operational Coordination Committee are two committees that make up the Fusion Centre’s governance structure and offer leadership for processes that identify and expedite investigations. An administrative support operation hub is part of the operation.

The participants received a tour of the Fusion Centre operations space and were shown a few instances of situations the Fusion Centre handled. The Fusion Centre staff interacted with the participants on some of the more technical components of the operations.

Practical matters were the primary emphasis of the meeting’s agenda for the 15th and 16th November 2022. External specialists from fields other than law enforcement made interventions during some topical sessions and gave their insights on particular subjects.

In regard to the two-day engagements, discussions on day one mainly focused on International organisations: The Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and investigative units of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) discussed the Guidelines on Corruption in emergencies and emerging technologies for detection and investigation of corruption cases, and changes in operational practices.

The participants were provided with a structured networking opportunity to meet each other and get information about institutional and legal features in their jurisdictions, as well as discuss concrete cases where they seek assistance from each other.

On day two discussions focused on International Cooperation, Informal and formal cooperation in corruption cases, and Inter-Agency coordination, national and international.

The sessions focused on challenges and solutions for informal and formal international cooperation in cross-border corruption cases, challenges faced and solutions found by law enforcement agencies in their response to corruption using inter-agency cooperation and innovative institutional developments for detecting, investigating, and prosecuting corruption in both national and international settings.

Participants were split into smaller working groups to brainstorm about investigative strategies and techniques that proved to be efficient and the most common challenges arising in the context of corruption cases related to crises.

The meeting was conducted by the ACD of the OECD and brought together anti-corruption law enforcement practitioners from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and as well as the African Development Bank, the World Bank, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

The law enforcement officials included specialised anti-corruption prosecutors, investigators and other pertinent African authorities.

The AFR LEO works to strengthen relationships, including key Working Group on Bribery members and the investigative divisions of Multilateral Development Banks with significant regional influence. A stronger investigation and prosecution of challenging cross-border corruption cases could result from this greater cooperation.