22. May 2024

Train-the-trainer programme in Zambia to build on asset recovery momentum

Zambia training ICAR

The Basel Institute’s International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) has marked the beginning of a new “train-the-trainer” programme in Zambia with a successful course on financial investigations and asset recovery.

The train-the-trainer programme aims to increase local training capacity by equipping five local anti-corruption professionals with the skills to become qualified ICAR trainers over the course of five workshops, while simultaneously training up to 125 other participants.

Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the first course saw the attendance of 27 participants, including nine women, from various law enforcement agencies and the judiciary. Bringing judges, prosecutors and investigators from a wide range of agencies together is an important aspect of the ICAR training methodology, and part of the Basel Institute’s broader support for Zambia’s multi-agency approach to fighting corruption.

At the start of the training, a minute of silence was observed in honour of Gretta Fenner, the Institute’s late Managing Director, who had tragically passed away three weeks before. In his opening remarks, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, eulogised Gretta as “one of the most remarkable individuals one could ever meet.”

An “informative and practical” training

The course focused on identifying and confiscating illicit assets through the use of criminal and civil forfeiture mechanisms, both of which are regularly used in the Zambian context. All course elements were tailored to local laws, including the simulated investigation into a fictitious Director of Public Works in the Ministry of Internal Development.

In unravelling the complex schemes used by this Director to benefit himself and his family, course participants gained a thorough knowledge of the offences outlined in Zambia’s bribery and money laundering legislation and an understanding of the importance of matching evidence to these offences.

The participants appreciated the practical nature of the training, with one commenting,

“Overall, the training has been very informative and practical; financial investigations and asset recovery are essential tools in the fight against corruption and financial crimes. Engaging with the different stakeholders helps us to assess our effectiveness, identify areas for improvement, and strengthen our capacity to combat illicit financial flows and promote accountability and transparency in financial systems. I would like to thank and encourage Basel Institute for this training and to continue with the good work of imparting this knowledge.”

Building on momentum in asset recovery

His Excellency Nicholas Woolley, British High Commissioner for Zambia, presided over the closure of the training workshop. In his remarks, he reiterated the British Government’s commitment to supporting Zambia’s multi-agency approach to combating corruption and other serious economic crimes.

The High Commissioner has also recently publicly acknowledged the collaboration between ICAR and government agencies, and noted in a local media interview that recent asset recovery results are “impressive” and “show that things are moving”.

Indeed, Zambia currently has great momentum in asset recovery, with recent record recoveries of cash amounting to over ZMW 770 million (around USD 30 million). This train-the-trainer course aims to ensure that this momentum can be sustained, by helping to grow and solidify local capacity in asset recovery and financial investigations.

Our programme of work in Zambia is implemented by our International Centre for Asset Recovery, which also benefits from core funding from the Governments of Jersey, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.