Pacific Delegation in New Zealand to Strengthen Anti-Corruption Efforts

March 21, 2024

Pacific delegates with financial intelligence colleagues from New Zealand, along with Britain's High Commissioner to New Zealand Her Excellency Iona Thomas OBE.

Photo: UNDP

Wellington, New Zealand: A 10-member delegation from across the Pacific is in New Zealand this week for a peer-to-peer exchange aimed at strengthening capacities in Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) efforts throughout the region.

Supported by the Government of the United Kingdom via the United Nations Development Programme Pacific (UNDP) Office in Fiji’s Pacific Anti-Corruption Project, this initiative underscores the shared commitment to combatting financial crimes in the Pacific.

A primary focus of this knowledge exchange is to build stronger networks to facilitate effective asset recovery related to the proceeds of corruption. Additionally, the exchange aims to replicate successful outcomes across the Pacific, drawing inspiration from the Financial Crime Prevention Network (FCPN) model adopted by New Zealand.

The knowledge exchange sees representatives from Financial Intelligence Units as well as senior level law enforcement officials involved in the investigation of money laundering and corruption in attendance from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Solomon Islands.

During the exchange, delegates will collaborate with the New Zealand Financial Intelligence Unit (NZFIU), the Serious Fraud Office, Department of Internal Affairs, New Zealand Police Asset Recovery Unit, Office of the Auditor General, and Transparency International.

Corruption in Pacific countries has significant practical implications for the lives of Pacific peoples. It means that essential services such as schools and health clinics are not properly maintained because funding intended for infrastructure investment is diverted elsewhere, or that medicines may not be procured on time or in sufficient quantities due to improperly awarded contracts and logistical challenges.  

British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Her Excellency Iona Thomas OBE said:

“The UK is honored to welcome the delegation to New Zealand, bringing together counterparts from five jurisdictions across the Pacific. Together we can increase and improve our work to counter fraud, the financing of terrorism and money laundering. This work underscores the UK’s commitment to support Pacific economic development.”

Sazia Sazileen, who serves as Acting Team Leader of Investigations with the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption said:

“This exchange is a valuable opportunity to enhance our region's financial integrity. I am eager to learn from New Zealand's successful strategies in furthering anti-corruption efforts. I look forward to forging connections with key agencies, creating implementation plans, and exploring joint intelligence projects that will contribute to the fight against corruption across the Pacific.”

Solomon Islands Financial Intelligence Unit Director, Jimmy Sendersley, added:

“Sharing knowledge and expertise, as well as learning from our colleagues in New Zealand can only strengthen our collective fight against corruption and money laundering. Building a stronger and more transparent Pacific family is a great initiative and one that our office is excited to be a part of.”

The programme concludes on 22 March. 

For further media enquiries please contact:

Nick Turner, Communications and Advocacy Specialist, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. (P) +679 971 6458 - (E)