A series of major new UK aid programmes will help bring criminals to justice and recover millions of pounds of illegal assets in developing countries, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced.
Illicit finance sees “dirty money” diverted away from people in poor countries to individuals involved in crime, terrorism and fraud. This not only harms economies and legitimate financial sectors, but also erodes the confidence of potential investors.
The package, announced as Prime Minister Theresa May visits Kenya, will:
- create new centres of British expertise in major financials hubs to tackle financial crime more effectively;
- strengthen efforts in southern and eastern Africa to recover illegal money flows from crime, fraud and corruption through the courts;
- support Kenyan authorities to bring people committing financial crimes to justice by helping to identify proceeds of crime and seizing criminal property;
- train and mentor law enforcements officials in southern and eastern Africa to improve criminal justice systems by tightening legislation and strengthen investigation techniques, which will help to build their capacity to clamp down on serious organised crime, ranging from drugs and people trafficking to rhino and elephant poaching;
- make use of British asset recovery experts by connecting them with counterparts across the globe.
During the visit, Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin signed a new agreement with the Kenyan government to return stolen and corrupt funds that have been moved out of Kenya and are hidden in banks in the UK.
All stolen funds found and returned to Kenya will be used exclusively for development projects, in sectors including education and health. This includes over £3.5 million in proceeds of crime seized by courts in Jersey.
This agreement builds on our commitment made at the 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit to stand shoulder to shoulder with countries who are committed to tackling corruption.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
“Financial crime hurts the world’s poorest the most, taking money away from schools, hospitals and other vital services in developing countries. Today’s UK aid package will stop dirty money in its tracks and send a message to crooks that we are clamping down on spaces for them to hide their illegally gained wealth.
“Even small decreases in illegal financial flows will give developing countries millions of pounds more to invest in their economies, helping them to stand on their own two feet and create a more prosperous future.
“Disrupting organised global criminals before they can directly threaten the UK is firmly in our national interest, and will lead to better trade links with African countries by reassuring British businesses that they can invest with confidence.”
The new commitments build on the UK’s existing leadership in tackling illicit financial flows, and over the last three years this has supported African law enforcement officials to develop skills which helped them to seize, confiscate or preserve over $76 million of illegal assets in 2017.