Anti-money Laundering & Asset Recovery Workshop, Kampala, Uganda.

AGA-Africa Programme in collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) of the Republic of Uganda hosted a two-day workshop on Investigation and Prosecution of Money Laundering Crimes and Asset Recovery on 2nd – 3rd  April, 2019, Kampala, Uganda.

The two-day workshop attracted 120 participants who included FIA staff, investigators and personnel from the Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Police Force – Economic Crimes Unit, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Internal Security Organisation, External Security Organisation, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Directorate of Public Prosecution, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Insurance Regulatory Authority and the office of the Inspector General Inspectorate of Government. Also represented was the Uganda Law Society.

The workshop was officially opened by FIA’s Executive Director, Sydney Asubo. He welcomed participants and thanked AGA-Africa Programme for their very timely training on such serious crimes as money laundering.

He mentioned that the training would be  useful to the participants as the understanding of Money Laundering and related matters in Uganda was still very low. He hoped that by the end of the training the participants will be enriched both in terms of the local legislation and other tools required to fight Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and the international standards required to tackle money laundering cases.

In his opening remarks, Simon Peter Chinobe, President, Uganda Law Society, thanked AGA-Africa Programme for the training opportunity and noted that it was very important to the participants as it would enable them understand and appreciate the money laundering act and the money laundering perspective.

“This training is very good and comes at a very important time. We need to first understand what money laundering is about, how to investigate and also how to prosecute the crime.”

Speaking on behalf of AGA-Africa Programme, John Edozie, AGA-Africa ProgrammeInternational Advisor thanked the government of Uganda, particularly the Hon. Minister of Justice, Major General Kahinda Otafiire and the Attorney General, Hon. William Byaruhanga for their support and collaborations. He implored the participants to actively participate in the workshop so as to benefit from the wealth of experience brought by the facilitators.

“It is through collaborations like these that we are able to tackle the most pressing issues in fighting transnational crimes in Africa today.”

Scott Blake- AGA, Assistant Attorney General with the Office of the Arizona Attorney General made enlightening presentations on Vulnerabilities and Methods of Money Laundering and Terror financing. He highlighted clearly the link between Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, presenting a general discussion of money laundering, before giving specific examples of cases they have investigated and prosecuted in the United States.

“Uganda is a cash-based economy with only 20% of its population having deposits in the banking sector which makes it harder to detect such money launderer transactions.”

Melisaa Pulver- AGA, Detective, MSJ Phoenix Police Department Drug Enforcement Bureau  took participants through the POCAMLA and Arizona Law, and a presentation on Asset Recovery with an actual Asset Recovery Case Study. In another session, she  focused on the legal instruments in place to combat money laundering in the United States. She had an interactive session with participants on instruments as the Bank Secrecy and Patriot Acts in the United States.

“Go after the money to destroy the establishment that operates within a money laundering system,”

Kenneth Muhangi, partner at KTA Advocates took participants through a session on investigation tools, terror financing and prosecution of AML cases in Uganda focusing on the role of new currencies like Bitcoin that are used as conduits for money laundering. He noted that Uganda does not recognize Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, although the Electronic Transactions Act 2011 provides a legal framework for e-commerce.

Peter Mugisha, State Attorney, Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions  presented on the Scale of Money Laundering in East Africa and Uganda, and gave an overview on the importance of Asset Recovery. The session focused on recovering assets obtained using monies acquired from money laundering activities. The session also explored similarities in approach to investigation and prosecution of such cases in Uganda and the United States. This was complemented by an exciting Q&A session where participants from the various stakeholder agencies shared experiences on cases they have handled.