Judges and Magistrates attend Anti-money laundering and counter Terrorism Finance trainingPNGCJE
A total of twenty-four (24) Magistrates and six (6) Judges of the Supreme and National Court of PNG are currently undergoing a four-day Anti-money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Finance training in Port Moresby.
The workshop started on Tuesday and will conclude tomorrow 11 August. The training is organized by the PNG Centre for Judicial Excellence in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and supported by the Government of Norway through the Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI).
Speaking during the opening of the training, Chief Justice of PNG Sir Gibbs Salika challenged the Judges and Magistrates to engage with the facilitator and co-facilitator and share their knowledge and ideas to develop a deep learning environment.
“Majority of the Judges from the PNG Judiciary have participated in this training in 2022 and we have extended the training this year to include our Magistrates as it is beneficial in providing them with a sound background knowledge on anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing.
“It is important that we understand the context of anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing in terms of knowledge, skills and awareness as Judges and Judicial officers.
“Money laundering is a crime and those who attempt to legitimize this illegal activity undermine the integrity of the financial system. It maybe that many in the public are not aware of this crime and there is likely a need for an awareness campaign to educate our society,” he said.
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Richard Stephen Howard Jr while speaking at the training said PNG has a rich cultural heritage and vast potential, blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and deserves a future free from the shadows of illicit financial activities.
“These resources are not just the pride of this nation but also the backbone of its economy. However, with great wealth comes great vulnerability. Criminal elements, both domestic and international, see these resources as ripe for exploitation, using them as vehicles to generate illegal proceeds.
“Illegal logging, unregulated mining, illegal fishing, and wildlife trafficking are just a few examples of how these criminals exploit our environment. They strip the land, sea, and forests, leaving behind a trail of environmental degradation, social disruption, and economic loss. The proceeds from these activities are then laundered through complex networks, making it challenging to trace and recover,” Mr. Howard said.
He said with PNG’s strategic location, while being a boom for trade and connectivity, unfortunately, also exposes the nation to heightened risks from transnational criminal organizations.
“These groups exploit the vast and complex maritime routes for the trafficking of illegal commodities, turning the Pacific into a conduit for their illicit activities.
“As judges and magistrates, you hold a pivotal role in shaping this future. Your decisions can set precedents, inspire change, and ensure that the rule of law prevails over the clandestine operations of money launderers and other criminals.
I commend the judiciary of PNG for taking this proactive step, for seeking knowledge, and for committing to be at the forefront of this battle. The United Nations stands with you, ready to support, guide, and collaborate in every possible way,” Mr. Howard said.