The Solomon Islands Financial Intelligence Unit (SIFIU) is upgrading its capability to counter corruption and money laundering through an attachment programme to Papua New Guinea’s Financial Analysis & Supervision Unit (FASU). The intensive two-week peer-to-peer knowledge exchange programme is taking place from 13 – 24 February in the capital Port Moresby, as part of the UN Development Programme (UNDP)’s anti-corruption support funded by the Governments of Japan, Solomon Islands and the United Kingdom.
The programme aims to foster cooperation and information exchange between the two Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and specifically focus on strengthening SIFIU’s analysis, supervision and management capacities.
Mr. Hilton Koti, who leads the SIFIU attachment delegation, said that four senior and newly recruited staff personnel within the intelligence, policy, and supervision divisions of SIFIU will upgrade their knowledge and skills on the issues of financial analysis and supervision benefitting from the experience of FASU. “Through engaging in hands-on activities, the programme aims to enhance our capacities to combat money laundering including as a powerful tool in the fight against corruption,” added Mr. Koti.
FASU Director, Mr Benny B M Popoitai, MBE, at the commencement of the programme said, “The attachment is supported by FASU in the spirit of promoting regional cooperation and towards improved national, regional and international results. This provides an opportunity for both SIFIU and FASU to interact, learn, exchange information, and enhance our operational and management capabilities.”
Pacific Island Countries have been scaling up their fight against corruption guided by the national, regional and international frameworks. All Pacific countries have adopted the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the only legally binding international anti-corruption framework. Pacific Island Countries are committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with focus on the Goal 16 targets to reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms and combat all forms of organized crime. In addition, several Pacific regional frameworks outline the importance of anti-corruption and peace and security measures, including the Framework for Pacific Regionalism (2014), the Boe Declaration on Regional Security (2018) and the Teieniwa Vision – Pacific Unity Against Corruption (2021).
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative/ Country Manager for Solomon Islands, Mr. Berdi Berdiyev emphasized that FIUs are among key beneficiaries of UNDP Pacific anti-corruption work given their importance as one of the key stakeholders in the fight against corruption. “Anti-money laundering and anti-corruption efforts are mutually reinforcing, and it is important to be brought together effectively. The attachment mission will also foster strategic discussion around improved regional cooperation and potential development of joint strategic intelligence products,” he added.
UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji and Solomon Islands Office have been working with Solomon Islands authorities to support their anti-corruption and anti-money laundering efforts through regional and national activities. Regionally, UNDP supports, both international and regional, peer-to-peer cooperation and knowledge-sharing; and the capacity development of the criminal justice system and other institutions (prosecution, judiciary, financial intelligence units etc.) to better detect, investigate and prosecute cases regarding misuse of public funds and related financial crimes.
The FIU attachment programme is supported by the Government of the United Kingdom through the Pacific Anti-Corruption Project, and the Governments of Japan and Solomon Islands through the Transparency and Accountability for the People of Solomon Islands – the Project for Strengthening the Capacities to Combat Corruption (TAPSCCC), both implemented by UNDP.