On the money trail
GIZ supports developing countries around the world in combating illicit financial flows. An example from Kenya shows how this can work successfully.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH works around the world on behalf of the German Development Ministry and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support its partners in curbing illicit financial flows. This is money that may stem from organised crime, be used to finance terrorism or be laundered. The idea behind these efforts: only when criminals can no longer conceal and benefit from their illegal assets is it be possible to curb the underlying offences.
GIZ Project Manager Johannes Ferguson describes the work using an example: ‘Rangers catch a poacher in the act in Kenya. He’s put behind bars. But does that mean the case is solved?’ When you consider that a kilo of rhino horn fetches more than USD 50,000 on the international black market, then this is just the beginning of the real detective work: Who is behind this? Where is the money going? This is where the project comes in. GIZ trains the investigating authorities in financial crime investigation and strengthens cooperation between them to ensure that those responsible are convicted, as is the case in Kenya.
GIZ is supporting the development of a multi-agency team (MAT) in Kenya. In this team, the Kenyan anti-corruption authorities, tax authorities and public prosecution departments work together to investigate corporate and financial crime efficiently. Thanks to the new team, anti-corruption authorities increased the conviction rate for financial crimes by over 50 per cent in the space of a year. Among those convicted were high-profile political and business leaders, including governors, members of parliament and directors of state-owned companies. Furthermore, the Kenyan anti-corruption authorities recovered around EUR 70.5 million in stolen assets between July and December 2019 (the first six months of Kenya’s 2019/20 financial year), a record amount, which was achieved with the help of the MAT.
The Kenyan authorities have presented their innovative approach for collaboration in multi-agency teams to other East African countries, who are now looking to follow Kenya's example with support from GIZ.