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African Anti-Narcotics Bodies Advocate Specialised Courts for Drug Cases, Money Laundering



–Urge Govts to Address Environmental Impact of Illicit Crop Cultivation, Drug Manufacture and Use

By Linda Ike

Heads of Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Africa have advocated the establishment of specialized courts to try drug cases and other organised crimes across the continent.

This was part of recommendations adopted at the end of the weeklong 31st Meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Africa (HONLAF) in Abuja on Friday.

They said, “Governments should consider the establishment of national specialized courts and asset recovery offices dealing with organized crime and money laundering and supporting tracing, recovering and management of proceeds of crime.

“Governments are encouraged to make effective and full use of existing informal regional and international cooperation instruments aiming at facilitating investigations and prosecuting organized crime including drug crimes and related money-laundering, including West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP), Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa (ARINSA), Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of West Africa (ARINWA) as well as the UNODC CRIMJUST programme.”

The Leaders also urged governments in African countries to promote cooperation and the
sharing of best practices in the confiscation of proceeds of crime, including drug-related cases.

According to them, “Governments should adopt adequate legal and regulatory frameworks on virtual assets, including cryptocurrencies, to prevent and combat their use for.drug-related crime and money-laundering.”

A statement signed by the
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA, Femi Babafemi stated that other recommendations adopted by the HONLAF working group during the annual meeting include: asking African governments “to develop and implement drug policy
responses that address, indirectly or directly, the environmental impact of illicit crop.cultivation, drug manufacture and drug use, taking into consideration positive and negative effects;

“Governments are encouraged to empower indigenous people, youth groups and local communities to protect the land, forest reserves and water sources in their areas, making the best of local knowledge and in line with local interests and needs;

“To address the challenge of limited data, countries are encouraged to
promote research and monitoring systems to collect data and establish baselines on
environmental impact, which will allow for evidence-based interventions and impact assessment;

“Governments are encouraged to strengthen their capacity to safely dispose of seized drugs, chemicals and the precursors and drug waste, utilizing guidance available from relevant national organizations as well as UNODC;

“Governments are encouraged to increase domestic collaboration between
law enforcement agencies and other relevant national agencies, such as the ministries of environment and agriculture.”

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