Thirty law enforcers are now on the frontlines of the battle against corruption following UK-funded training and Crime Chief Paul Williams yesterday urged them to push back against superiors who insist on doing things the old-fashioned way.
Speaking to the participants of the two-week financial investigation and anti-corruption programme, which ended yesterday, Williams warned of resistance from superior ranks who don’t understand or buy into the new way of doing things. “I don’t think you should sit idly and allow those things to happen. We understand, yes you are showing respect for your superiors…yes you want to really and truly perform within the limitation of ethics but then ethics does not require you to sit there idly and see things…So bring it to the attention of those who you think you need to…and ensure that what is being taught here is put into practice,” he said.
Fourteen persons from the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), nine from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), two from the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU), one Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and four persons from the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) benefited from the training which was facilitated by two UK-based security experts, who have a total of 60 years’ experience in anti-money laundering and fraud investigations.
In delivering remarks during the closing ceremony, Williams urged the participants to make the best use of what was shared with them during the programme.
He said that that the force has recognised over the years that collaboration with partners in foreign jurisdictions is important and this is welcomed since knowledge and experience are being shared with the local ranks. Given the challenging times, he said that it is important for the force to recognize the importance of measuring its standards and performance against other jurisdictions.
Williams while noting that the time was not enough to deal with all the issues comprehensively, said that the participants have been given the foundation. “The information you have been given is good enough for you to go and explore, get yourself au fait (and) check out to see what is going on in other places”, he said adding that in doing all these things the foundation to becoming a good investigator would have been laid.
Meanwhile, Irish security expert Sam Sittlington, who is currently serving as an advisor to SOCU, said that unfortunately corruption is “a way of life”. He said that the course is necessary for investigators dealing with fraud, bribery and corruption matters, adding that one of the requirements for completion was participation in the SARA-organised anti-corruption march, which was held later in the day. He said that when the course opened two weeks prior, he saw investigators “coming into unknown territory and during the past two weeks I saw participants who were hungry for knowledge who asked questions, who interacted with each other and with the trainers…who spoke about their personal experiences and their concerns …aspirations of the future.”
According to Sittlington, the course entailed lessons on fraud investigations, fraud typologies, body language of suspects and identifying a believable liar and unbelievable liar.
He said week one focused on fraud investigations and participants were provided with information on the fraud model, how to conduct such investigations independently with integrity and without conflict of interest, how to gather evidence and what expertise they can use to do so, the scope of investigations, proportionality, properly preparing case files to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Police Legal Advisor, and technical support needed to ensure the security of evidence from the time of seizure to the court stage.
Week two, he said, dealt with bribery and corruption investigations. He said participants were informed about the profiling of the elements of corruption and were presented with a number of case studies to use as examples, preventatives measures associated with such crimes, red flags of such crimes and how to conduct risk assessments in particular environments.
He said that he was impressed with the training modules delivered by the two experts as well as the participants’ response.
“You and I are the frontline in the investigation of bribery and corruption and fraud offences. You know what is required,” Sittlington said, while notng that there is now a zero tolerance attitude in the minds of participants when it comes to dealing with these types of offences. “You have to be commended for that. It is a very brave decision in an environment where sometimes you are not getting the support from your peers and to take a stand that you have taken here in this course, to say the things you have said, you definitely have to be commended for that,” he said.