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Burkina Faso

Specialized Judicial Areas for Economic Crimes (BF0006)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Burkina Faso Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of justice, human rights and civic promotion (MJDHPC)

Support Institution(s): MINEFID, Ministry of security, ASCE-LC, CENTIF, World bank REN-LAC TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Anti-Corruption Institutions, Capacity Building, Dispute Resolution & Legal Assistance, Judiciary, Justice, Justice for OG, Legislation & Regulation, Legislative

IRM Review

IRM Report: Burkina Faso Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Pending IRM Review

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

What is the public issue for which the commitment is made to address?: Difficulties in the processing of cases of economic and financial crimes Poor punishment of cases of corruption and identified wrongdoings; What is the commitment?: Stake : manage to prosecute the offenders of economic and financial crimes Overall objective: combat financial delinquency Expected result: specialized judicial areas of Ouagadougou 1 et Bobo are operational; How will this commitment contribute towards addressing the public issue?: This commitment will enable: • Improve the current traditional judicial system which is inadequate regarding the review of cases of economic crimes; • The judicial administration must have at its disposal qualified human resources for processing cases of economic crimes ; • A better efficiency in processing cases of economic and financial crimes.; Why is this commitment relevant in terms of PGO values?: This commitment enables : • To increase transparency in processing cases of economic crimes ; • To Punish defaults of accountability in the management of public funds. • To recover assets misappropriated or embezzled; Additional details: State Budget, World Bank • Connection with line 1 of PNDES (Line 1) • Connection with the national policy of justice (programme 2 ; action 2) • Connection with national Pact for the renewal of justice (chapter 3 ; section1) • Connection with PSDMA • Connection with SNPG • Connection with the anti-corruption policy • Connection with ODD 16

IRM Midterm Status Summary

6. Operationalizing specialized judicial areas in the punishment of economic and financial crimes

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Operationalizing specialized judicial areas in the punishment of economic and financial crimes”

Stake: manage to prosecute the offenders of economic and financial crimes

Overall Objective: combat financial delinquency

Expected result: specialized judicial areas of Ouagadougou 1 et Bobo are operational

Milestones/Deliverables/Activities:

To adopt the decree on the regulation of the duty of specialized assistant to specialized judicial areas and grant of special allowance

To adopt an order on recruitment conditions of specialized assistants

To appoint actors of areas

To train actors

Equip judicial areas (50,000,000)

To set up a team of specialized investigation judicial police officers

To operate the areas by sending files and competences

Start Date:  November 2017                                                                                     End Date:  June 2019

Action Plan is available here

Context and Objectives

This commitment seeks to reduce impunity in financial and economic crimes in Burkina Faso by reinforcing the judiciary. According to a 2017 report by Réseau national de Lutte anti-corruption (REN-LAC), the embezzlement of funds from 28 government agencies and 11 audited structures totaled CFA F 31,144,000,000. [49]  Accounting procedures were not in compliance with due diligence standards; individuals without professional training in accounting were charged with managing deposit accounts; and there was proof of mismanagement of state companies and irregular practices in public markets. REN-LAC recommended strengthening good governance practices in public markets and close judicial follow-up of financial crimes. [50]

In the view of the President of the Burkinabe Movement for Human and Peoples Rights (MDBHP by its acronym in French), the judiciary faces a number of obstacles for appropriately prosecuting and investigating financial crimes: a) a lack of proper understanding of the procedures and the applicable laws by investigators and judges during investigation, judgement and sentence enforcement; b) the dispersion of legal instruments applicable to financial and economic crimes; c) a lack of reliable statistics and financial and human resources; and d) a lack of cooperation between the government and the judiciary regarding the provision of feedback to judges’ requests. [51]

Financial corruption among government agencies, and the limitations of the judiciary to fully and properly investigate financial crimes and prosecute criminals, have led to popular unrest. On 20 May 2017, CSOs gathered at the House of People to denounce impunity in economic crimes and called for a war on injustice against a judicial system that, in their view, concealed crimes and remained silent. [52]

To that end, the commitment’s overall objective is to combat financial delinquency. This commitment seeks to reduce the level of impunity in financial crimes by adopting a decree on the regulation of duties governing assistants within specialized judicial centers, as well as by adopting recruitment terms for these assistants. The commitment also envisions building capacity by training relevant actors, creating a special team of judicial police officers, and equipping judicial centers. The expected outcomes aim at ensuring that the specialized judicial centers within High Courts of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso are operational. [53]  While this commitment envisions strengthening investigative capacities of judicial centers concerning financial crimes, and thereby constitutes an improvement in justice, it does not in any way enable citizens to have any role in oversight. Therefore, this commitment does not appear relevant to the OGP value of public accountability and thus, the relevance of this commitment to OGP values is unclear.

 

Some of the activities and expected results are specific enough to be verifiable. Commitment completion can be verified by looking at the number of actors trained, the number of areas supported, and by assessing if the legal documents were passed and adopted (both the decree and the order).

If implemented as written, the commitment will address judicial inequity, but not solve the problem completely. Therefore, the potential impact of this commitment is graded as moderate. While the action plan states that this commitment will increase effectiveness in processing, investigating, and prosecuting financial and economic crimes, there is no explicit mention about the specific areas this commitment will provide training on or who will provide the training. The commitment does not set out a specific baseline from which progress can be tracked (e.g., setting a specific amount of cases to be processed within a known timeframe). The commitment does not explicitly mention what the difficulties in investigating financial and economic crimes are. Nor does the commitment provide any reference regarding the current case workload per judge.

While the commitment’s intended goal and objective are of significant relevance to the action plan in terms of the number and nature of activities proposed, a lack of monitoring and evaluation concerning the impact of training judicial officers may make it difficult to track and measure progress.

Next steps

  • Even though this commitment is not relevant to OGP values, it could be continued as a tool to support the government’s public policy objectives, but not necessarily to be included in future action plans.
  • Define the specific areas in which officers will be trained as well as monitoring mechanisms to assess their understanding of applicable procedures and legislation. This monitoring should be conducted periodically.
  • Identify key obstacles hindering effective prosecutions and investigations.
  • Establish a monitoring system for case statuses to propose quantifiable targets. It would also help to track the caseloads of each investigator and jurisdiction to alleviate and prevent overloading.
  • Encourage collaboration and coordination between government agencies to facilitate investigations, particularly between the government and the judiciary regarding information requests.
  • Enforce tougher legislation on corruption to dissuade civil servants from illegal practices when conducting investigations.
[49] State of Corruption in Burkina Faso: Report 2017, (Réseau national de Lutte anti-corruption, 2017) 55, http://renlac.com/download/rapports/Rapport-REN-LAC-2017.pdf. [50] Id. at 55−56. [51] Chrysogone Zougmoré (Burkina Movement for Human and Peoples’ Rights), interview by IRM researcher. 14 February 2019 [52] “Burkina Faso: mobilization day in Ouagadougou to denounce impunity” (Radio France Internationale (RFI), 21 May 2017), http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20170521-burkina-faso-journee-mobilisation-ouagadougou-denoncer-impunite. [53]  Government officials, email from Sidi Barry (Permanent Secretariat of Modernization of Management and Good Governance) to IRM researcher.

Commitments

  1. Implement Community Policing

    BF0014, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Awareness-Raising About Tax Compliance

    BF0015, 2019, Subnational

  3. Mining Sector Transparency

    BF0016, 2019, Access to Information

  4. Asset Declaration Reform

    BF0017, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  5. Modernize Civil Status System

    BF0018, 2019, Capacity Building

  6. Complaint Processing System

    BF0019, 2019, Capacity Building

  7. Access to Justice for Vulnerable People

    BF0020, 2019, Access to Justice

  8. Socio-Economic Empowerment for Women and Youth

    BF0021, 2019, Capacity Building

  9. Increase Women's Representation in Decision-Making

    BF0022, 2019, Capacity Building

  10. Popularize the Virtual Counter of Public Administration (GVAP)

    BF0023, 2019, E-Government

  11. Strengthen Communication About Open Government

    BF0024, 2019, E-Government

  12. Sign Protocols of Operations Where Competence Shall Be Transferred to Municipalities and Regions

    BF0001, 2017, Capacity Building

  13. Respect Time Limit Required for Issuing Legal Acts

    BF0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  14. Vulnerable Persons Access to Legal Aid Funds

    BF0003, 2017, Access to Justice

  15. Online Registration for Post-Baccalaureate and Baccalaureate Competitions

    BF0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  16. Registration and Complaints Handling Mechanism

    BF0005, 2017, Capacity Building

  17. Specialized Judicial Areas for Economic Crimes

    BF0006, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  18. Citizen Committees to Control Racket in Public Administration

    BF0007, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  19. Capacities of Disciplinary Committees

    BF0008, 2017, Capacity Building

  20. Virtual Window of Public Administration

    BF0009, 2017, Access to Information

  21. Right of Access to Public Information and to Administrative Documents

    BF0010, 2017, Access to Information

  22. Ministry and Public Institution Data in Open Format

    BF0011, 2017, Access to Information

  23. Access Information and Citizen Involvement in State Budget

    BF0012, 2017, Capacity Building

  24. Community Dialogue on Local Budget (EDIC)

    BF0013, 2017, Capacity Building

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