The June edition of the WCO Magazine from the World Customs Organisation includes several articles on IFF, including its links to the smuggling of minerals such as gold. The articles deal with –
- an overview of the discussions which took place during the WCO Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Trade Mis-Invoicing that was held in May 2018. This included discussion of the WCO Study Report on Illicit Financial Flows via Trade Mis-invoicing and the recommendations on how to combat it, such as ensuring customs authorities have sufficient powers, can access foreign exchange transaction databases and enhanced information-sharing between agencies (including tax authorities, FIU and between customs authorities).
- introducing the German Customs organisational structure and work processes to detect IFF and fight the concealment of the proceeds of fraud and crime.
- describing how a joint portal for Customs verification of minerals will contribute to fighting the smuggling of minerals, in particular gold, and related IFF. 3 West African countries (Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone) have announced the publication of a joint portal for Customs verification of minerals. The portal allows customs officers around the world to look up and verify mineral export permits issued by the 3 states. With more countries set to join, the portal will become an essential tool in addressing the smuggling of minerals such as gold and related illicit financial flows.
- explaining how the production and trade in gold is organised in Burkina Faso and the challenges faced in fighting gold smuggling. It says that the country has been transformed into a mining player specialising in the production of gold. Among the reasons for this growth in the country’s extractive industries are the tax breaks granted to investors and the arsenal of legal provisions put in place to make mining investment projects predictable and safer. Burkina Faso is said to be currently the 6th most attractive location in Africa for mining investors, beaten only by Botswana, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia and Zambia.