“WACAM 1” enforcement operation in the Republic of Guinea is a resounding success

13 November 2017

As part of the West African Customs Administrations Modernization (WACAM) Project, funded by Sweden, the Republic of Guinea successfully conducted its first inter-agency enforcement operation from 20 to 30 October 2017, covering all means of transport by air, sea and road throughout the country.

Taking their cue from Guinean Customs, other border management agencies (the Air and Border Police, the Central Drug Enforcement Bureau, the Gendarmerie, and the Ministry of the Environment, Water and Forestry involved in implementing the Washington Convention) played an active part in Operation WACAM 1. This collaboration has thus resulted in a record number of findings and seizures being made.

These uncovered a substantial number of undeclared imports, excise duty fraud (relating to tobacco and mineral oils), infringements of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), drug-related offences involving the internal concealment (in corpore) of 800 g of cocaine and the seizure of 129 kg of cannabis, and infringements of legislation on the free movement of capital, and arms trafficking. Some of these cases have already been entrusted to the judicial authorities and should give rise to further developments.

The implementation of Operation WACAM 1 represents the culmination of a process of modernization and capacity building started in September 2016 by the Customs Administration of the Republic of Guinea as part of the WCO WACAM Project. Accordingly, since early 2017, Guinea's Customs officers and some of its partners have been provided with training in the conduct of enforcement operations and in the WCO COPES1 Programme, focusing on techniques for gathering evidence and for inter-agency cooperation so as to ensure reliable findings and effective legal consequences. The officers also received training in the use of CENcomm.

WACAM 1 also owes its success to the support of the Director General of Customs of the Republic of Guinea, General Toumany Sangaré, who had urged his Customs services to make full use of the training provided by the WCO experts and to harness the commitment of all those involved at all levels.

For more information about this particular activity or the WACAM Project in general, please contact the WCO-Sweden Programme Director, Mr. Richard Chopra (richard.chopra@wcoomd.org).

For more information on the COPES Programme, please contact Mr. Gilles Thomas (gilles.thomas@wcoomd.org).

1 COPES: Compendium of Customs Operational Practices for Enforcement and Seizures