A newly announced series of UK aid packages will employ the country’s asset recovery experience to tackle dirty money in developing countries.
The challenge of dirty money in developing countries is a particular problem, because this type of fraud erodes the confidence of potential investors and can thereby threaten the economic growth of a country. A new series of UK aid packages will support recovery of assets and create centres of excellence in major financial hubs around the world to address the problem.
The announcement was made during a visit by a UK delegation to Kenya. The government also announced that stolen funds that are found and returned to Kenya will be used for development projects, and to support education and health. Some £3.5m has already been seized and returned to Kenya.
What steps is the UK taking to stop the flow of illicit finances around the world?
UK authorities will work closely with their Kenyan counterparts to ensure that those committing financial crimes are identified and brought to justice, and that the proceeds of crime are recovered. This will also include providing training to law enforcement officials in southern and eastern Africa, with the aim of strengthening the ability to investigate these crimes.
Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s International Development Secretary, emphasised the need to address dirty money for the sake of securing the economic security of the developing world. She 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.”
She stressed that these efforts could translate into significant improvements for countries in the developing world. “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.”