US Immigration and Customs hosts Cross Border Financial Investigations Training

CBFIT course participants with US Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: In a joint effort with Papua New Guinea’s Customs Service the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) recently hosted a 2-day Cross Border Financial Investigations Training (CBFIT) at the U.S Embassy in Port Moresby.

From May 17-18, HSI officials provided specialized training, technical assistance and best practices to approximately 15 law enforcement officials from PNG Customs. The training covered topics ranging from how to detect contraband and illicit cash smuggling at the border to discussions about the legal issues that law enforcement must be aware of to ensure a successful prosecution in these matters. Practical and legal issues that arise in protecting and securing PNGs borders from illicit cash flows and general smuggling were also discussed.

CBFIT provides instruction from HSI representatives who have extensive experience in financial investigations, which benefits the host government and allows ICE to get its name out, engage and show its value to law enforcement counterparts in Papua New Guinea.

HSI Deputy Attaché Robert Lombardi was one of three instructors from HSI in Port Moresby for CBFIT. According to Lombardi, during the training, the goal was not only for attendees to learn the concepts, but also for them to develop a network among themselves to effectively use team work in investigating financial crimes.

As part of the CBFIT, which is funded by the Department of State, following the training, a representative from HSI will be assigned to do a follow-up on the training. HSI recognizes that financial crime is a global phenomenon and developing partnerships with other nations such as Papua New Guinea is essential to identifying criminal associations and detecting issues before they can be exploited. The specialized instruction will contribute to furthering Papua New Guinea’s capacity in disciplines such as interdiction methods, firearms smuggling methods, investigative techniques, undercover investigations, child exploitation investigations and overall best practices.