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Specialised training on the transnational organised crime involvement in the precious metals and gemstones supply chain

Pretoria, South Africa -

 Joint media statement UNICRI and the South African Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation

The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the South African Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (The Hawks) have organised a 3-day specialised training to enhance the capacity of South African law enforcement and judiciary professionals in countering the threat posed by the involvement of transnational organised crime in the precious metals and gemstones supply chains.

The specialised training, entitled “Transnational Organised Crime Involvement in the Precious Metals and Gemstones Supply Chain”, takes place in Pretoria at the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) from 3 to 5 July 2018, and sees the involvement of leading experts, prosecutors and law enforcement officers experienced in investigating transnational organised crime and illicit trafficking in precious metals.

The crimes around the precious metals and gemstones mineral supply chain are committed in multiple jurisdictions along the entire process. Crimes include: forgery of government documentation, tax fraud, labelling fraud, forced labour corruption, and money laundering. The rising involvement of transnational organised crime in this sector requires enhanced multiagency and cross border cooperation to counter these illicit activities and secure the integrity of mineral supply chain.

The specialised training is designed with a regional approach, enabling participants to share knowledge, analyse national and international legal frameworks, while creating new networks. Law enforcement and judicial professionals will strengthen their capacity to detect, investigate and prosecute crimes related to the integrity of the supply chains, and identify good practices in terms of information sharing and cooperation. Participants will also be equipped to better promote joint actions with relevant institutions to ensure a comprehensive approach towards securing the integrity of the precious metals and gemstones supply chains.

This activity is organized within the framework of the "Rapid Response" capacity-building programme designed by UNICRI for law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and judicial institutions on transnational crimes. The initiative has been made possible thanks to the contribution of Compagnia di San Paolo.

In its resolution 2013/38 entitled “Combatting transnational organised crime and its possible links to illicit trafficking in precious metals”, the Economic and Social Council calls upon the UNICRI to conduct a comprehensive study on the possible links between transnational organised crime, other criminal activities and illicit trafficking in precious metals.

In line with this request, UNICRI, in cooperation with the government of South Africa, has conducted a comprehensive study to assess the degree and scale of the threat posed by the illicit trafficking in precious metals and related organised crime activities and developed a programme to promote an international strategy to combat illicit trafficking in precious metals. Reinforcing national capacities, establishing an international network of key stakeholders and support cooperation between the Private and Public sector are fundamental components of this strategy.

During the specialised training high-level speakers addressed issues in their areas of expertise: South African Precious Metals and Diamonds Regulator, Financial Intelligence Center, specialized units of the South African Police Service, National Director of Public Prosecutions, Asset Forfeiture Unit, South African Revenue Services, and representatives from the gold and platinum mining sector.

“I applaud the initiative and contributions of all stakeholders who joined efforts sharing the skills on combatting transnational organised crime with specific reference to precious metals and related commodities” said Lebeya, who Heads the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in South Africa.