July 31, 2015

Lao PDR Officials Attend Anti-Corruption Training

July 2015

In May, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in partnership with the United States Embassy in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), trained 70 officials from Lao PDR’s Government Inspection and Anti-Corruption Authority (GIAA). The training, which focused on techniques for identifying and investigating corruption, was attended by officials from 18 of the GIAA’s provincial offices.

Participants said that the information they learned in the training would be useful for them and their colleagues at the Government Inspection and Anti-Corruption Authority. 

U.S. Ambassador to Lao PDR Daniel Clune and GIAA Vice President Bounpone Sangsomsak opened the workshop. “The lessons you learn here will strengthen your institution and can help you facilitate continued gains in the fight against corruption,” said Ambassador Clune, adding that the U.S. government and ABA ROLI “stand ready to support your valuable work in any way we can.”

Conducted by eight GIAA officials and ABA ROLI’s Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser (RACA) Peter Ritchie, the workshop addressed international anti-corruption standards and best practices, such as those outlined in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the guidelines of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)—an intergovernmental body that focuses on combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other threats to the integrity of the international financial system. Ritchie led the discussions onUNCAC and the FATF.

Participants said that the information they learned in the training would be useful for them and their colleagues at GIAA. “The GIAA is particularly interested in building capacity to investigate financial crime and to recover the financial proceeds of corruption offences,” said Ritchie. Using an ABA ROLI checklist of key international standards, training participants identified future priorities to build the skills and systems needed to investigate financial crimes and corruption. “ABA ROLI will continue to work closely with the GIAA and other donor agencies to build these skills and systems, and to promote the rule of law,” Ritchie added. Sangsomsak, the GIAA vice president, has requested additional support for the anti-corruption agency to build on the initial groundwork laid during the training. Ritchie said, “GIAA would assimilate such assistance effectively and thereby genuinely strengthen the fight against corruption and associated crimes.”

The training is part of ABA ROLI’s RACA Program, which is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. At GIAA’s request, ABA ROLI is working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the U.S. Embassy in Lao PDR to expand the program in 2016.

To learn more about our Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser Program, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.