27. April 2021

Through online workshops and eLearning, African anti-corruption officials gain new skills in financial investigations and asset recovery

FI-AR training for the CAACC in April 2021 - Zoom screenshot

Our International Centre for Asset Recovery training team has delivered another virtual version of our flagship Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery training programme to 19 anti-corruption officers from 14 African countries.

The training was provided at the request of the Commonwealth Africa Anti- Corruption Centre (CAACC) and funded by the African Development Bank. The virtual delivery took place using video conference and the Basel Institute’s LEARN platform.

As part of the week-long training programme, the participants – mostly investigators from Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia – worked together in breakout rooms to investigate a complex corruption and money laundering simulated investigation.

They had to collect "evidence" to prove the offences and explore the various formal and informal avenues that investigators can use to obtain information and trace assets in foreign jurisdictions.

One participant echoed the general feeling that the training was "a great experience – the content was extremely relevant to my daily tasks."

Blending online training with self-paced eLearning

We are increasingly using the "blended learning" approach by incorporating self-paced eLearning modules into our usual hands-on and practical instructor-led course.

A key financial investigation skill that many participants lacked is the analysis of large volumes of financial data, in particular bank statements. For this purpose, participants took the eLearning module on Financial Analysis using Excel before attending the online workshop.

Fictitious bank statements were then provided to the participants to analyse in the context of the simulated exercise to apply their newly acquired skills. “An eye-opener”, said one participant.

Putting laws into practice

Finally, the training highlighted the underutilisation, in most of the countries represented, of anti-money laundering legislation in the fight against corruption and the recovery of stolen assets.

Participants, for instance, mentioned that despite the existence of asset recovery mechanisms such as non-conviction based confiscation in their domestic legislative framework, such avenues were not sufficiently explored.