Interview opportunity on International Anti-Corruption Day: How GIZ fights financial crime and corruption

Project Manager Johannes Ferguson explains how GIZ is working to curb illicit financial flows – with the help of a rhinoceros.

Eschborn, 1 December 2020. The first thing that comes into Johannes Ferguson’s mind when hearing the terms ‘financial crime’ and ‘corruption’ is a rhinoceros. The Berlin resident with roots in Hesse heads a project at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on combating illicit financial flows. This refers to money that originates from organised crime, is used to finance terrorism or is ‘laundered’, for example. Ferguson and his colleagues have been working around the world on behalf of the German Development Ministry since 2015, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been providing additional financing since 2019. The project’s priority areas are in Africa, Latin America and the Western Balkans.

What do complex, illegal financial flows have to do with a rhinoceros? Ferguson explains in practical terms: ‘Rangers catch a poacher red-handed in Kenya. He is put behind bars. But is the issue then resolved?’ In the knowledge that a kilo of rhinoceros horn is worth more than USD 50,000 on the international black market, this is when the real detective work begins: Who is behind the poaching, and where is the money going to?

This is where the project comes in. For example, GIZ is training the investigating authorities in East Africa and facilitating their cooperation in ‘Multi-Agency Teams’. In one such team, agencies including the Kenyan anti-corruption authority, the tax administration and the attorney general work together – to great effect. The conviction rate for financial crimes rose by more than 50 per cent between 2017 and 2018. In the first six months of the last financial year (July 2019 to June 2020), stolen assets amounting to EUR 70.5 million were recovered. One of the reasons for this success is the excellent cooperation between the investigating authorities in the Multi-Agency Team.

Johannes Ferguson will be delighted to explain how GIZ helps curb illegal financial flows in an interview. Timeslots are possible on 7 December between 12:30 and 14:30 pm and on 8 December between 9:00 and 11:00 am.

GIZ will provide photos (portraits) of the interview partner and also project photos, if requested.

Please contact GIZ’s press departments for scheduling an interview.