International cooperation to help fight internet fraud
Western Australia Police and Nigerian authorities, through the Commonwealth Secretariat, have signed an international agreement of cooperation to fight internet fraud and money laundering.
The Major Fraud Squad (MFS) of the WA Police and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will underpin greater collaboration between the two investigation agencies.
Officer in charge of the MFS Detective Senior Sergeant Dom Blackshaw said the agreement will pave the way for the two agencies to work more closely together to combat online fraud and international cybercrime.
“This partnership provides the basis for a higher level of cooperation which will mean that both agencies will share evidence and information on investigations and prosecutions,” Det. Snr Sgt Blackshaw said.
“There is also a commitment by both agencies to improve investigation skills and EFCC members will be seconded to work with the MFS during 2014. This will give further opportunity to cement the relationship between WA and Nigeria and put us in a better position to identity and prosecute offenders.”
Similar agreements exist between the EFCC and London Metropolitan Police, US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The EFCC approached the WA Police through the Commonwealth Secretariat following the success of Project Sunbird, the joint operation between the MFS and Consumer Protection in WA to minimise losses to victims of internet fraud.
EFCC Executive Chairman Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, who is also Commissioner of Nigeria Police, said the mission of the EFCC is to eradicate the West African country of economic and financial crimes.
“The crimes of corruption, fraud and money laundering are having an adverse impact on the international image of Nigeria and our Government, through setting up the EFCC in 2003, is demonstrating its determination be an active participant in the global fight against these crimes,” Mr Lamorde said.
“Through cooperation of this kind, crime fighting agencies can overcome the hurdle of their investigations stopping at international borders. By working with the Western Australia Police and other police forces throughout the world, the EFCC hopes to increase its capacity to track down and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes and reduce the financial impact on their victims.”
Acting Director of the Governance and Institutional Development Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat Mr Tim Newman said the agreement was a fine example of the strategic importance of the Commonwealth.
“The Commonwealth Secretariat is pleased to be able to set up networks between like-minded agencies in member States to enable them to share information, experience and expertise for their mutual benefit,” Mr Newman said.
“In this case, we have aligned two agencies with common objectives to join forces to combat transnational crime.”
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said international cooperation was the key to winning the war on cybercrime.
“The proof of the benefits of international cooperation came earlier this year with the arrest of a Nigerian man by the EFCC with regard to a real estate fraud attempt here in WA,” Ms Driscoll said.
“The borderless and anonymous nature of cybercrime can make it difficult for investigations to be successful but, with greater cooperation between WA and Nigeria, we hope to overcome these obstacles. This collaboration will help us become more effective in identifying and prosecuting the criminals behind the online frauds and scams that leave victims financially and emotionally devastated.”