Working together to uncover money laundering and financial crime

How a UNDP capacity-building programme catalysed a lasting shift towards effective collaboration in financial investigations

January 25, 2024

Dr. Mohamed Almosly, the UNDP Expert and Lead Trainer for the Financial Investigations Initiative took task force members through the 31st Task Force training workshop at the Judicial Training Institute in Baghdad.

Photo credit: UNDP Iraq 2024

Monday, 22nd January 2024, Baghdad Iraq - In a collaborative effort to combat money laundering and financial crimes, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq this week completed its 31st signature class ‘Task Force Workshop on Financial Investigations’ at the Judicial Training Institute.

The workshop is part of a diverse programmatic offer UNDP has been delivering to Iraq’s law enforcement, oversight, and judicial institutions since 2021 to strengthen capacities and consolidate collaboration. The project works with Investigative Judges, Prosecutors, Investigators, and Auditors from 11 key agencies from all of Iraq who form the task forces in criminal investigations to address financial. 

“The main goal of our programme’s workshops is to enhance the capacities of the task force members and promote a collaborative approach across the agencies, which will strengthen the capacity of the participants to navigate complex cases involving corruption, money laundering, terrorism financing, and illicit enrichment,” Dr. Mohamed Almosly, the UNDP Expert and Lead Trainer of the Security Sector Reform / Rule of Law Programme shared about the workshop. 

New Developments in Iraq’s Judiciary

The idea that financial and complex crimes are better investigated in a multi-disciplinary task force collaborating on the case than a single institution that asks other agencies for collaboration in isolated requests was endorsed by an order of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) of August 2023. In this order, the SJC used the term “task force” for the first time and thereby created an official reference document that such task forces are in line with the Iraqi legal framework.


Reinforcing Inter-Agency Collaboration

Indeed, one of the programme’s pivotal outcomes was the reinforcement of inter-agency collaboration in uncovering complex financial crimes. By fostering a shared understanding among participants, the training emphasized the importance of task forces, in which different agencies possessing evidence on a case can work together. 

In the inter-disciplinary practical training approach, practitioners solve cases together. 1063 officials have already been trained through the Task Force workshops. In total, the programme has trained 1757 officials from all of Iraq, among those 282 women. The emphasis on the inclusion of women is a testament to UNDP’s commitment to diversity in the fight against financial crimes. 

“The Task Force workshops on financial investigations, reinforced by the Financial Investigations Handbook, strengthened the ability of the Commission on Integrity to conduct financial investigations with other institutions. Cooperation helped us to uncover the illegal gains of many officials. Our work resulted in convicting those officials of the crime of illicit enrichment and were able to return the funds they stole to the Iraqi people,” Mr. Ayman Dawood Salman, Director General of the Extradition Directorate of the Federal Commission on Integrity. 

Mr. Salman added that cooperation between the Commission of Integrity and Interpol also led to the extradition of 18 wanted persons in 2023, an unprecedented international achievement for Iraq.

The programme provides the judiciary, law enforcement, and oversight agencies with a shared and better understanding of the steps required for a thorough financial investigation, and how to collaboratively solve deadlocks. This includes upgrading skills to identify crucial elements of the crimes under investigation, determine necessary evidence, identify key witnesses, consolidate investigation results into clear, accurate, and comprehensive reports. Making the programme sustainable, includes the delivery of a  Handbook on Financial Investigations developed and endorsed by the heads of the 11 agencies with UNDP support. It was in the last quarter of 2023. 

Looking ahead 

As the workshop series progresses, it contributes significantly to building a national network of skilled professionals capable of effectively combating financial crimes. By fostering cooperation and understanding among diverse agencies, the initiative aims to create a united front against illicit financial activities in the country. UNDP has delivered already 31 Task Force Workshops and will deliver 10 more this year. 

Then, the training together with an e-learning course will be launched on an online platform managed by the Iraqi institutions. UNDP’s support of financial investigations continues in dedicated programmes focused on asset recovery and strengthening the financial investigation unit in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

These collaborative efforts are generously funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).


UNDP in Iraq supports the Government of Iraq's efforts towards reconciliation, reform, and stability. The Financial Investigations task force workshops are part of its work under the Security Sector Reform and Rule of Law Programme. The program’s goal is to support the Government’s efforts toward long-term peace and stability through an improved security and justice sector. Its work on financial investigations and anti-money laundering is made possible with the generous contributions of the United States Government.