Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director General of SELEC and Mr. Artan Shiqerukaj, Deputy Director of Albanian Customs, opened the 19th meeting of the Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force organized during 21-22 of May 2019 with the support of Albanian authorities, in Durres, with the participation of representatives of SELEC Member States and also representatives of EUBAM, Kazazi Consulting (Albania), OLAF, Philip Morris International and Kingdom of Spain.
The event was organized in the context of the project FAIT – Fight Against Illegal Trade, financed by PMI IMPACT – a global grant initiative by Philip Morris International to support projects dedicated to fighting illegal trade and related crimes.
During the meeting, chaired by Mr. Dorian Dingo, Task Force Manager, the participants discussed regional approaches in preventing and countering customs frauds and smuggling, overall aiming at strengthening regional cooperation between Customs and Police in this area and set common guidelines to be followed at regional level. At the same time, the meeting aimed evaluating last year’s activities in the field of combating trans-border customs frauds and smuggling, as well as to discuss and plan its future activities.
The 2019 Draft Annual Report on Smuggling of Tobacco Related Products in Southeast Europe and the Evaluation Report on Regional Operation KNOW-HOW III were presented by Mr. Valentin Dinca, SELEC Assistant Criminal Analyst.
Mrs. Maleeva emphasized that illicit trade represents a growing security concern in the region as well as globally, allowing illicit “empires” to further finance organized crime. These challenges can be overcome with innovative solutions, such as advanced analytics solutions, network mapping or data visualization software. These are powerful tools which can help law enforcement agencies in identifying emerging trends and patterns or in anticipating future threats.
Within Project FAIT, SELEC is in the process of building a new Operational Centre Unit, bringing new and innovative training facilities which will assist our law enforcement authorities in developing the necessary technologies, capacities and capabilities to counter illicit trade, with a more meaningful impact.
In the second day of the meeting a needs assessment was conducted in order to identify training needs (on the latest technology, special techniques and special investigative methods for better results in the fight against smuggling of goods) for the future training activities organized within the project for defining, implementing and fine-tuning common or tailored procedures, applicable in SELEC region.
The Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force was established in 2003 and it’s coordinated by Republic of Albania.