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Closing ceremony of the Customs officer training course in Karachi, Pakistan

28 febrero 2022

The six-week training course for Pakistan Customs held under the CECAC (Customs Enforcement Curriculum for Assistant Collectors) Project came to an end on Friday 25 February 2022 with a ceremony in Karachi, Pakistan. This training is a major component of an ambitious programme and follows on from a number of activities that took place during 2020 and 2021, namely a two-week pilot training course, an institutional assessment mission and a train-the-trainer session. Around 20 young officers of the project’s beneficiary, Pakistan Customs, attended the course.

The course was developed as part of the COPES (Customs Operational Practices for Enforcement and Seizures) Programme with the intention of helping Customs administrations to improve the level of training on enforcement provided for their young officers. Unique in terms of its length and the number of experts and consultants involved (14), it focused on border controls, evidence collection, investigation techniques and prosecutions. This makes it a first of its kind in the history of the COPES Programme.

The closing ceremony was chaired by Ms. Suraiya Ahmed Butt, Director General of the Pakistan Customs Department of Training and Research, who expressed her thanks to the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) within the United States Department of State (US DoS – INL) for their efforts in implementing the CECAC Project, and also the participants who played a very active role in helping ensure the success of this event.

Ms. Butt then highlighted the importance of the CECAC Project for the careers of the future senior officers of Pakistan Customs, providing them with an enforcement mindset from the outset. Mr. Khoso, Director of the Customs Training Centre in Karachi, gave an overview of the project’s progress since its launch, emphasizing the excellent working relations between the Federal Board of Revenue and the WCO.

Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO, then congratulated the various parties involved on the success of this project and pointed to the WCO’s commitment to help its Members build their capacity to embed their activities within the criminal justice system. Secretary General Mikuriya was particularly grateful to the US DoS – INL for its financial support and its assistance on the ground. Mr. Pranab Das, Director of the WCO’s Compliance and Facilitation Directorate, then encouraged the young officers to take full ownership of their role in implementing the techniques learned in order to enhance performance and went on to thank Pakistan Customs for its excellent working relationship from the start of the project onwards.

Lastly, Mr. Mark Stroh, the US Consul General in Karachi, urged Pakistan Customs to continue its efforts to combat fraud and fight cross-border crime, with a clear focus on border control. Mr. Stroh also pointed out that this year marked the 40th anniversary of the partnership between the INL and Pakistan. On this occasion, he made it clear that he wanted to continue these efforts, which also helped to ensure better protection for the population of Pakistan.

The WCO wholeheartedly thanked Pakistan Customs for their welcome and their cooperation and the US DoS – INL for its financial support and its expertise on the ground. The COPES Programme also expressed its deep gratitude to the 14 experts and consultants for their responsiveness and commitment.

For more information on the COPES Programme and the CECAC Project, please contact COPES@wcoomd.org.