Is there evidence, for example through media investigations or prosecution reports, of a penetration of organised crime into the defence and security sector? If no, is there evidence that the government is alert and prepared for this risk?

19a. Penetration of organised crime


SCORE: 50/100

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19b. Government response


SCORE: 0/100

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Over the last few years, there have been several cases of involvement of armed forces personnel in various organized crime activities [1].
In addition to the involvement of individual military personnel in organized crime groups, there have also been concerns about the penetration of organised crime to use the military infrastructure for drugs trafficking purposes.
In 2014 a parliamentary investigation committee was established to investigate accusations made by the opposition on the implication of the Albanian armed forces and military bases in the transportation of narcotic substances [2]. The opposition boycotted the commission and did not participate in the investigation [3]. The investigation concluded that military airfields were used for trafficking narcotics in the years 2012-2013 [4]. In 2017, the opposition in the parliament raised the concern that organised crime had access to the Coastal Surveillance System. However, the claims were not substantiated and the CNS did not undertake any thorough investigation [5].

There is a government awareness of the threat posed by the organised crime which is defined also in the strategic documents. Organized crime is defined as one of the top threats to Albania in its National Security Strategy [1].
Organized crime, illegal trafficking of weapons drugs and hazardous materials are also defined as threats in the Military Strategy [2]. However, there are no specific action-plans or reports published by the MoD to inform on the outcomes of the efforts conducted in the implementation of the strategy. However, the analysis of the MoD’s monthly publication “Revista Mbrojtja” (Defence Magazine) and the weekly “Gazeta Ushtria” (Army Gazette) show that the topic of organized crime is not addressed as an issue of concern in the MoD or the armed forces official disclosures [3, 4]. The minister of defence has flatly rejected claims of penetration by organised crime [5] although evidence has shown the involvement of high ranking military officers in drugs trafficking [6].

Generally, it is very difficult to find information on the penetration of organised crime in the military and the security sector. See also the country’s last assessment (4). Some reports and articles suggest that it is likely that organised crime networks have penetrated the security services. One of the latest examples is the case of Maj Gen Abdelghani Hamel, former head of the Directorate-General for National Security (DGSN), who was dismissed in connection with a record seizure of 701kg of cocaine by the armed forces in the port of Oran (1) (3). However, it is difficult to fully assess the case. Analysts have discussed it with regards to the presidential elections next year and that it might indicate a potential power struggle between different factions (1) (2).

No information could be found that the government has publicly spoken about the possibility that organized crime has penetrated the defence sector.

Deputy Minister of National Defence Gaïd Salah said that he welcomed the efforts of the Naval Forces to intercept drugs at the port of Oran (1). Following the dismissal of Maj Gen Abdelghani Hamel, the President of the Republic and Salah ordered that Hamel’s remuneration be stopped. They were also considering to reduce him of his rank and investigate into two accounts located abroad (2).

There is an absence of effective scrutiny and poor enforcement of anti-corruption laws in the defence and security sector. There is a long-term pattern of corruption between public and private interests at all levels of power in Angola. Penetration of the defence and security sectors by organized crime is likely, however, it is under-documented (1).

Research by Rafael Marques de Morais, particularly in his book on conflict diamonds, suggests high-level corruption and links to transnational organized crime which remain likely to persist even in the wake of João Lourenço’s election (2), (3). Although there is scant evidence of direct penetration, due to the governance structure of Angola and the fact that high-level officials tend to hold or be linked to individuals holding positions in the military, there is under documentation rather than a lack of occurrence of these issues (4), (5).

The 2014 Anti-Money-Laundering Law (1) includes among others provisions on arms trafficking, as well as human trafficking and the trafficking of migrants, though the law has so far been poorly enforced. The General Inspectorate of the State Administration (IGAE), as an auxiliary service of the presidency (Legislative decree 3/17 of October 13) (2), lacks independence, as does the inspector-general of the national defence, who is subordinate to the Defence Minister (Presidential Decree 27/18 of February 6) (3). On September 15, 2017, the inspector-general of the state administration shelved all ongoing investigations opened between January 1, 2013, and August 30, 2017. President Lourenço, who took office on September 26, 2017, has encouraged anti-corruption investigations that have resulted in several senior public servants being indicted and jailed under corruption-related charges (4). So far, there is no indication of an anti-corruption move in the defence and security sector.

Angolan media reports allege that the inspector-general of the state administration who shelved all investigations since 2013 in August 2017, Joaquim Mande, was himself involved in corrupt practices (5).

In 2018, the General Inspectorate of the State Administration (IGAE), endowed with additional staff in August, has conducted anti-corruption investigations in several ministries and state-owned companies. In September, the probes resulted in indictments of, among others, former transport minister Augusto Tomás and the chair of the Eduardo dos Santos Foundation (FESA), Ismael Diogo. Other investigations resulted among others in the prosecution and jailing of José Filomeno (Zénu) dos Santos, the former president’s son and chair of the Sovereign Fund; his associate Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais; the head of the central bank, Valter Filipe da Silva, and the former treasury director of the Finance Ministry, Edson Vaz (5), (6), (7).

The likelihood that organized crime penetrates the defence sector is very low. At the time the armed forces developed in Armenia in the late 80ies of the twentieth century, there was a strong will to build a strong and operational Army. This was objectively justified considering the conflict with Azerbaijan, and those responsible for defence architecture were alert in this type of issues. This is why the general definition of organized crime does not apply to the Armenian defence and security sector. There might be separate cases of criminal behaviour, but it’s never organized [1]. Before the Velvet Revolution corruption in Armenia had a systematic nature and was part of the defence sector. The spending of financial resources was not transparent and as new revelations were found after the revolution showing instances of crimes in the armed forces, especially among high-ranking officers [2]. “Overall, 182 cases of corruption were recorded in Armenia’s armed forces [in 2018] … An investigation has been launched into every case …The damage recorded in all criminal cases totals to 422,236,614 drams, a 7.3 per cent increase as compared to 2017. More than 410 million drams was restored” [3].

The government actively looks for signs of criminal behaviour in the defence and security sector. This sphere is sensitive, and the authorizations have always stressed the will to combat any activities that may hinder the effectiveness of the system. High-ranking officials before and after Revolution through their public speeches reiterate their will to fight against corruption, misbehaviour, and other types of omissions. Investigations were conducted on different types of crimes in the defence and security sector [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. The corruption was systematic and consequently organized before the revolution. However, the new government makes substantial efforts to change the situation. In 2018, 182 cases of corruption were recorded in the armed forces. After the revolution, the damage recorded in all criminal cases totals to 422,236,614 drams, a 7.3 per cent increase as compared to 2017. More than 410 million drams was restored” [8]. According to a pre-revolution publication “the defence sector remain[ed] one of the most closed and corrupt institutions in Armenia and the public’s distrust toward it [has been] getting deeper” [9]. “Forms of corruption permeating the defence sector include[d] the embezzlement of state resources, bribery, patronage, and procurement fraud [9].

According to official statements, media reports and interviewees there is some evidence of penetration of organised crime in the defence and security sector under the current administration.
The military prosecutor Khanlar Veliyev has noted the fight against corruption in the defence and security sector. According to him, in 2017, 123 criminal cases of corruption and bribery dealing with 146 people were completed and sent to relevant military courts (1). Journalists report serious violations during the tenders in the armed forces (2).
Nearly twenty former senior officers of the former National Security Ministry have been involved in the investigation. All of them are charged with the creation of a criminal gang, robbery, kidnapping and corruption. Former National Security Minister Eldar Mahmudov led the criminal group (3).
In 2017, there were widespread reports of spy scandals in the army, whereby organized group were conducting espionage for Armenia. However, there is limited information shared with the public. There have been similar scandals in the security sector, especially at the law enforcement agencies, including the Ministry of Security and Ministry of Internal Affairs. There is an ongoing investigation of the penetration of organized crime in the Ministry of Security and more than 200 people have been detained or lost their jobs; more than 20 people were arrested.

The military prosecutor Khanlar Veliyev has noted the fight against corruption in the defence and security sector. According to him, in 2017, 123 criminal cases of corruption and bribery dealing with 146 people were completed and sent to relevant military courts (1). Journalists report serious violations during the tenders in the armed forces (2).
Nearly twenty former senior officers of the former National Security Ministry have been involved in the investigation. All of them are charged with the creation of a criminal gang, robbery, kidnapping and corruption. Former National Security Minister Eldar Mahmudov led the criminal group (3).
In 2017, there were widespread reports of spy scandals in the army, whereby organized group were conducting espionage for Armenia. However, there is limited information shared with the public. There have been similar scandals in the security sector, especially at the law enforcement agencies, including the Ministry of Security and Ministry of Internal Affairs. There is an ongoing investigation of the penetration of organized crime in the Ministry of Security and more than 200 people have been detained or lost their jobs; more than 20 people were arrested.

There are media reports of police officers being arrested for sharing information on police actions [1], and participation in narcotics trafficking [2].
There have been no recorded cases of penetration of organised crime into the defence system other than individual isolated cases where individuals serving in armed forces committed a criminal offence, or there were grounds for suspicion that a criminal offence was committed, for which they were prosecuted by the competent judicial authorities [3]. An example of a case includes a brigadier, who was accused of illegal mediation in the recruitment of persons to the armed forces, and the recent case of a colonel, against whom an investigation is ongoing for alleged abuse of power and authority [4, 5].

According to the government reviewer, apart from the BiH national-level strategy (1), the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Plan of the Ministry of Defence is the strategic doctrine. Along with other operational documents, it is dedicated to the fight against corruption. Altogether, these represent the basis for a planned and continuous process of monitoring risks and taking anti-corruption measures. The main strategic documents are the Policy of Integrity Building, Risk Reduction and Anti-Corruption in the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of BiH (No.05-03-32-1-41-23 / 13 of December 30, 2013), and the Rulebook on Risk Assessment of Corruption in the BiH Ministry of Defence (No.05-03-32-1-41-23/16 dated 16 August 2016). The MoD and the responsible persons (parties) in the chain of command conduct procedures determining the responsibility of the perpetrators of irregularities. These follow the Law on Service and Rulebook on Military discipline in the MoD and AFBiH, from which disciplinary sanctions are imposed. Additionally, the MoJ also submits reports to the relevant prosecutor’s office, bear in mind that the allegations of irregularities were related to offences from the Criminal Code of BiH. These show that there are mechanisms in place for the processing of irregularities in the MoD. Measures are imposed and implemented to eliminate and adopt systemic solutions and sanction the perpetrators of identified irregularities. The structure of the AFBiH also includes a military police battalion, which also has authorized military police officials and investigators who have the authority and cooperate with prosecutors in conducting investigations into suspected criminal offences. Also, in case of need for additional funds not secured regularly, per the Instruction on Emergency Procurement in MoD and AFBiH of 09/2018, commanders of units of battalions and higher rank units may procure goods and services in the amount of 500-6000 KM (Logistics Command of the AF BiH) necessary for the accomplishment of the assigned missions.

The state has adopted action plans for the implementation of the Strategy for Combating Organized Crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina; however, in the strategic plan, the risk of penetration of organised crime in the defence and security sector is not recognized [1]. According to the decision of the Council of Ministers on forming the working group, the Ministry of Defence was not a member of the working group for the production of the strategy, and it is not invited to take any steps regarding derived from the strategy itself [2].

Following the military coup of October 16, 2014, a few soldiers of the former RSP, refusing to obey the call made by the army general chief of staff to align with the regular army, seized a military armory in the western area of Ouagadougou, the capital city, to steal arms with the goal of releasing the leader of the military coup, who was arrested and jailed at the military arrest and correction facility (MACA), inside the General Lamizana Military Camp (1). These soldiers accused of organised crime to penetrate the defence sector were arrested, sentenced and jailed (2). There is a strong likelihood that organised crime has perpetrated the Burkina Faso defence sector. As far as drugs and crime are concerned; Burkina Faso is not among the top drug consuming and crime committing countries in the world, although customs usually burns down the huge amount of drugs seized every year at the celebration of the international day against drug abuse and crime (3). Trafficking in human also takes place frequently, especially in border regions and urban areas. Women are mostly exposed to trafficking. Unfortunately, there is a strong probability that trafficking in human worsens with the rising of insecurity in the Sahel region (4). Additionally, light weapons movement and terrorism remain some of the most dangerous threats to Burkina Faso. If light weapons movement already existed in the country, terrorism remains a new phenomenon, exacerbated by recurrent attacks and kidnapping, particularly in the Sahel region (5), (6).

The government is well-informed about the possibility of infiltration of organised crime in the defence and security sector, and it is taking actions and measures to address it. The recent attack perpetrated on the Yemdi armoury by members of former RSP (1), and their prosecution and punishment highlights this (2). The government awareness on the existence of potential organised crime to readily infiltrate the defence and security sectors has risen. The new National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDSE), makes strong statements about the defence and security sector. The PNDES claims that “to promote good political and administrative governance, the goal for 2020 is to strengthen democracy, human rights, peace, justice, security, and defence, etc.” The plan goes further by saying that “the goal is to increase Burkina Faso’s score in the assessment of national policies and institutions (EPIN) from 4.1 in 2015 to 4.8 in 2020” (3).

According to both a senior officer at the Ministry of Defence and the U.S. State Department, gendarmerie officers have been involved in organised crime. These security personnel have either worked indirectly with gangs or been directly involved in organised crime [1] [2] [3]. One example is a military vehicle commanded by a Captain transporting 93 elephant tusks as well as other protected species’ meat and body parts. The contraband was on its way from the south of the country to the centre, and seems to have been part of a larger well-organised military ivory-trafficking operation based in Gabon. Five civilians and two military personnel were arrested in conjunction with the incident and the court case is ongoing. In 2016, Captain Hamadjam Hamadjida Rene, commander of the Mokolo gendarmerie, Mayo-Tsanaga Division, Far North Region, who was alleged to have played a role in a series of armed robberies, was removed from his post and sent to the Maroua Military Tribunal [3]. It was alleged during his tenure as Minister Delegate in Charge of Defence at the Presidency, Mr. Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o was involved in several fraudulent and criminal activities, including inflating the prices of two aircraft he purchased to enhance the national carrier’s fleet [4], [8]. In 2016, a wildlife guard and a local police chief were arrested in suspicion of involvement in ivory in the ancestral land of Baka [5].

It is claimed that “the state only invested in security to contain and then, in the 2000s, suppress the growing phenomenon of highway robbery – yet without destroying the smuggling networks that have benefitted from corruption among customs officers and the security forces.” [6]. Furthermore, VOA Africa reports, in 2018 “The military says it discovered a large cache of illegal weapons in a warehouse in Awae, near the capital. Cameroon’s military raided the warehouse April 30 after locals reported suspicious movements to and from it….officials suspect the weapons came overland from neighbouring countries, in particular Nigeria. However local residents wonder how they got past police and gendarme posts around Awae” [7] – the phrase ‘local residents’ seems to be suggesting that the local police/gendarmerie were complicit in this criminal activity, but had no evidence to corroborate the locals’ suspicions.

According to a report at Camer.be, “The Minist[er] of Defense, Beti Assomo[,] now starts like a missile to hunt down the corrupt. [‘]We must keep the honor of the Cameroonian army,[‘] he said” [1]. This was in connection with the two non-commissioned officers of the national gendarmerie filmed openly in Douala in the middle of corrupt activities. They were discharged from their duties, transferred, faced a disciplinary council, then were brought before a military tribunal. In fact, there are few examples of defence and security forces being tried for involvement in criminal activities [1] [2] [3], but the government’s actions have been unclear and inconsistent in fighting corruption or organised crimes in the defence and security sectors. The Code of Military Justice lists the types of crimes and offences for which the Code has jurisdiction (articles 8, 53 through 57). Though it does not specifically mention organised crime, in the list, article 8 (I) states “all other offences related to those referred to above”, which would include organised crime and corruption [4]. This just means that issues of corruption or organised crime in the defence and security sectors have not been specifically included in the anti-corruption policy within the defence and security sectors, and that they fall under the general criminal code and have only been superficially publicly addressed by military leaders [1].

According to the U.S.’s Human Rights Report for 2016, “On August 26, Captain Hamadjam Hamadjida Rene, commander of the Mokolo gendarmerie, Mayo-Tsanaga Division, Far North Region, was allegedly remanded in custody at the Kaele prison on a warrant issued by the government commissioner at the Maroua military tribunal. Captain Hamadjam allegedly played a role in a series of armed robberies targeting traders. He was relieved of his duties and immediately replaced” [2].

Also repored in the Journal Du Cameroon, “On January 31, the former Defence boss alongside his wife and some of his close collaborators were barred from travelling out of Cameroon pending the completion of an investigation. Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o was once again at the Special Criminal Court on Tuesday where he was grilled for hours before judges decided to keep him in custody late at night. He was detained alongside three of his close aides, Colonel Joel Mboutou, former defence attaché at the Cameroon Embassy in Morocco, Victor Emmanuel Menye, Asssistant General Manager of SCB bank and Maxime Mbangue, ex-adviser at the Ministry of Defence. He is accused of embezzling state funds by overpricing the cost of military equipment acquired from French company MagForce when he was Defence Minister. Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o’s wife is expected to appear before the Special Criminal Court today where she will be grilled by investigators” [5].

Even though there is no evidence through media investigations or judicial reports that organized crime has penetrated the defence sector, the problem with illicit trafficking rings operated by former rebel leaders has triggered soldier mutinies as recently as 2017, thus threatening the country’s political stability.

The government response has been to filter out high-ranking officers above age 55 via early retirement schemes introduced by the 2016-2020 Loi de Programmation Militaire (LPM). The Council of Ministers decided to accelerate the early retirement schemes as a result of the soldier uprisings of January and May 2017. The goal is to reduce the armed forces by 4,000 officers by 2020 (1). “These early retirements are part of a major plan to restructure the Ivorian armed forces launched in 2016. The first wave comes seven months after the recent soldier mutinies that have shaken the country. The goal is to facilitate the departure of more than 4,000 soldiers by 2020 in order to reduce the army’s current strength to 23,000, and to rejuvenate and professionalize it” (1).

The government has also resorted to sending some particularly problematic COMZONES abroad to be retrained. In an article from July 23, 2018, Jeune Afrique profiled Issaka Ouattara (alias Wattao, with about 1,500 troops under his command), who was sent to Morocco’s Royal Military Academy in Meknes in 2018 to earn a certificate in security studies. This was an obvious government attempt to neutralize the former rebel leader, who is said to have strong ties with Guillaume Soro, NA President since January 2017. The Wattao case can be used as evidence of how policymakers are dealing with this problem (2).
“For the second time in less than three years, Wattao has been sent to Morocco, where, in the calm of the prestigious Royal Military Academy in Meknes, he is doing a six-month internship and from where he will return in late May with a degree in security and defense policy. Is it a punitive measure to keep him far away or a rewarding opportunity for training? A bit of both” (2).

The government is aware of the illicit trafficking rings of former rebel leaders, now reintegrated into the armed forces, pose a threat to political stability. However, other than the introduction of early retirement schemes for those older than 55 and the retraining of several high-ranking officials, the government response has been inconsistent. Additionally, MoD authorities are reticent to address this issue publicly.

In an interview with Le Monde on September 4, 2018, political analyst Gilles Olakounlé Yabi said the government response toward former rebel leaders has been weak. Yabi stated that President Ouattara has allowed the COMZONES to operate with impunity for the sake of national reconciliation. This lack of action, he added, could lead to another episode of violence and civil unrest in 2020, when Côte d’Ivoire again holds presidential elections. (1) “In Côte d’Ivoire, the powers that emerged following the country’s armed conflict (2002-2011) opted for an opaque, partial and biased treatment of justice issues for the victims of hundreds of murders and other crimes during the post-election crisis and the many episodes of violence that preceded it. The political choice that was made in early August by President Alassane Ouattara is that of impunity for all in the name of reconciliation. The idea is to consolidate peace by rehabilitating the main actors at the fulcrum of the conflict except, of course, the unlucky ones who did not survive. The political negotiations between former allies, adversaries, even enemies, continue to make headlines in Abidjan. This could carry on through 2020, the year in which the battle for power could again lead to the use of violence” (1).

There are also tensions between President Alassane Ouattara and NA President Guillaume Soro (and former rebel leader himself of Forces Nouvelles, FN) regarding the COMZONES and their spheres of influence. This further dilutes government efforts to resolve the problem. On 27 July 2018, Afrique Sur 7 reported that the upcoming presidential election of 2020 will see a further division emerge among the COMZONES, with some warlords choosing to remain loyal to President Ouattara and others such as Wattao and Koné Messamba siding with NA President Soro (2).

There is a moderate likelihood that a group of armed forces could organize criminal groups easily. There is widespread corruption within the armed forces, especially in border units where they are bribed and assist in smuggling and trafficking of weapons, drugs, and humans (1), (2), (3). Recently, there have been many cases of bribery brought against senior officers in civilian positions such as General Nader al-Said the head of the al-Dokki municipality (4), and General Alaa Fahmy, the director of the state-owned holding company for food industries, among others (5). However, although some of these actions were coordinated and involved several officers, and might not be very rare, there is no evidence that together they constitute something that would qualify as organized crime. Human trafficking has also been rampant in Sinai where there is heavy armed forces presence, but there is no evidence that the military or security personnel have been involved in it (3).

According to our sources, the government is aware of organized crime in the armed forces, they try to investigate these issues. However, there are no clear and consistent policy and inclusion of anti-corruption commission, or ACA to work against members of the armed forces who are active in service (1), (2), (3). The government, particularly the Administrative Control Authority (ACA), has made some anti-corruption raids on senior officials over the last few years. However, these raids have only included former military/police officers in civilian positions and almost no one in service (4), (5). The ACA is one of the anti-corruption agencies that is the least independent of the executive as it follows the prime minister, who is technically the head of the executive and has immense powers almost surpassing the power of the head of the ACA. Moreover, it has been an old tradition for the ACA to be led by former military generals (6),(7). Also, as discussed in previous questions and sub-indicators, the CAA is very restricted in having any supervisory power over the defence institutions. Military officers are further protected from civilian oversight by giving military courts the exclusive right to try military personnel for crimes committed on duty as stipulated by Article 204 of the Constitution (8). As for the judiciary, it is very rare for military officers (especially those in service) to appear before civilian courts and are usually tried before secret military courts.

In accordance with the Penal Code, [1] a criminal organisation is a permanent organisation consisting of at least three individuals who share the distribution of tasks. There have been criminal investigations of individual cases where people acted in their own interest, but these cases do not represent permanent criminal behaviour as the definition stipulates. [2,3] The annual reports of recent years produced by the Estonian Internal Security Service [4] do not provide any indication of organised crime in the defence sector, nor does the Prosecutor’s Office Yearbook for 2016, [5] which only provides one example of a bribery case.
Europol’s European Union Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2017 (SOCTA 2017) did not mention any organised crime cases in Estonia’s defence sector. [6] Finally, based on e-mail correspondence with Estonia’s Prosecutor’s Office, there have not been any organised crime cases identified in the Estonia’s defence sector. [7]

The Minister of Justice recently stated in front of the Riigikogu [1] that police departments and the Prosecutor’s Office have been successful in combating and preventing organised crime. Several heads of different criminal groups have been sentenced to prison. However, he does not describe the situation specifically in the defence sector. The Anti-Corruption Strategy 2013-2020 of the Ministry of Justice [2] sets out, as one of the goals, to tackle corruption that is a threat to the country’s security. It stipulates that one of the focus areas will be looking at large scale procurements in the defence sector, which is the most critical sector as most revenues in the defence sector go through procurement.
The Basics of Estonia’s Security Policy describes [3] corruption and organised crime as something that harms the country’s reputation. According to this policy, fighting international organised crime will be a focus. However, there is no mention of organised crime in Estonia’s defence sector. Overall, organised crime as a topic is covered, but only superficially, by the government when it comes to the defence sector. As there haven’t actually been any organised crime cases found in the defence sector, addressing an inexistent issue only briefly can be considered sufficient.

The assessor could find no evidence of organised crime in the defence and security sectors. The Military Police (MP) investigated one case of misappropriation by two employees of the state-owned building company Mshenebeli in 2011 (controlled by the SSTC DELTA) [1, 2].

There is not enough information to score this indicator. The evidence available is insufficent to determine whether the Georgian government would be in a position to take action – should organised criminal activity take place in the defence and security. However, it is worth noting that, during the period of research (2015-2017) one case of misappropriation by two employees was investigated by the MP [1, 2]. This serves as confirmation that the MoD and the MP are effectively monitoring corruption risks within the MoD.

There is no evidence of military involvement in sectors in which organised crime operates (1), (2), (3), (4), (5). However, there is a record of individuals within the defence institutions participating in criminal activities in the past (5). Drug trafficking is a major issue in Ghana, which is an important country of origin, transit, and departure in West Africa concerning drugs (6).

The Ghanaian government has not demonstrated any proactive measures to deal with potential threats from organised crime, because of the assumption that the Ghanaian armed forces are well disciplined and they have the resilience to deal with such infiltrations (1), (2).

However, the government is aware of the threat of organised crime across the country and acted by establishing the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) in 2010 (3). The office investigates, with the authority of the Attorney-General, and prosecutes financial or economic crimes, money-laundering, human trafficking, cyber activity, and other serious offences. While the mandate and powers of EOCO are broad, its investigations have been criticised for being politically-driven (4).

Ghana also established the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) which started operations in January 2010 (5). The FIC is mandated to receive suspicious transaction reports, and disseminate financial intelligence and other information related to money laundering and terrorist financing. The risks related to organised crime are included in the NACAP, which identifies two activities to address the issue in strategic objective 4: activity 1 (“Ratify and domesticate international conventions relating to corruption, money laundering and transnational organised crime”) and activity 30 (“Strengthen the national coordination capacity in combating transnational corruption and organised crime”) (6).

The Organised Crime Division of the Hungarian National Police is responsible for combatting organised crime in Hungary. Since the scandals of the ‘oil mafia’ in the 90s, there has been no proof that organised crime has penetrated the security sector. While the security services closely control the militaL75:L76ry [1], recent cases suggest that limited attention is paid to companies trading with arm surpluses bought from the military [2]. However the real problem is not the penetration of organised crime into the defence sector, but the lack of legislation, capability and oversight in sectors related to defence industry and management of the export of surplus items.

Military leaders never addressed this problem. The particular case mentioned [1] was not commented on by the ministry, but several pro-government presses attacked the author and claimed he is working for US intelligence services [2, 3]. That is linked with the nature of the government-controlled media. The Interior Ministry is closely cooperating with every international body to limit the presence of any organised crime group on the territory of Hungary. However, the Hungarian government generally addresses organised crime in line with EU regulations and other international agreements and do not have a particular emphasis on the defence sector in this regard [4, 5].

Organized crime is a problem and is not restricted to the latest Iraqi administration (1), (2). Before the ascent of the PMF, organised crime had infiltrated police ranks, carrying out extortion, trafficking, oil and drug smuggling among many other crimes (3). Iranian-backed militias, whose affiliates are afforded seats in parliament and inside security and defence institutions, continue to lead extortion campaigns in areas formerly under ISG control (2). In December 2014, then-PM Abadi called for greater security initiatives to combat organised crime in Basra, describing the threat of organised crime as “more dangerous than that posed by Islamic State” (4). Other reports note that groups answerable to the commander-in-chief do not always remain under government control (5). As summarised by one source “disparate quasi-state armed actors and political factions … compete with one another and establish supportive constituencies” underlining the need for the GoI to “re-establish capacity and professionalism among security forces and administrators”.

Former PM Abadi has spoken about criminals “attempting to exploit the security forces”. In successive years, hostage-taking has remained pervasive (4). Foreigners, activists and dissenters are attractive targets to low-ranking gang members who kidnap and give them to organised crime syndicates for profit (4). This is not helped by the limited police, defence or state-backed security forces. This has created a self-perpetuating problem whereby law enforcement agencies are inhibited by low enforcement capacity issues. A major case was the looting of Beiji, where militias stole strategic economic assets. International and local Observers reported that equipment was resold to “Iraqi and Iranian businesses” (6), which later allegedly attempted to sell looted parts (7). An act of self-sabotage, one reporter summarised is “no better emblem of the Iraqi state destroying itself … $12 bn to replace” (8). Another source states that “PMF looting” extends to “fertilizer and power plants, a railroad station, water purification stations, and private and public property” (9). Wikileaks stated “Shi’a militias have turned the Baiji refinery — once Iraq’s largest — into a heap of scrap metal by looting it thoroughly”.

Organised crime is intimately connected with heavily armed paramilitary groups that are within the PMF and with the decentralisation of power and arms nationwide. The state has encountered difficulties in seeking to coordinate its efforts in its battle against organised crime, lacking a national strategy, or independent force well equipped, with a clean record, able to clean up organised crime. Paramilitary forces have amassed a double-edged reputation, threatening even the state should it stand in their way (1). While “crime rates are difficult to quantify” (2) in the absence of reliable statistical data, monthly incidents are reported from the sale of underage women, drug trafficking to hostage-taking. Recently reports from Deutsche Welle on the arrest of an Iraqi gang member known in Europe as Salam 313, who is suspected of facilitating the entry of illegal narcotics and weapons (3). Some of those targeted in the police raid are said to have supported militias, tied to the Sadrist trend, back in Iraq using profits generated from such activities (3).

There is a low likelihood that organised crime can penetrate the JAF or security sectors. There are stringent rules, checks, and controls that take place before joining security apparatuses or the armed forces. In 2016, there were media reports about Jordanian Intelligence Directorate personnel selling weapons, shipped into Jordan for Syrian rebels, on the black market [1, 2]. However, that matter was not dealt with as organised crime. Even though no decisive evidence confirms that there is organised crime within the defence sector, it is very likely that organised crime might penetrate the defence sector [3].

As there is no evidence or acknowledgement of the existence of organised crime penetrating the defence sector, the Government does not actively try to tackle the issue. However, Government officials often state their determination to counter organised crime in general. In April 2018, the Office of the Public Persecutor General along with IRZ held a seminar on fighting organised crime in Amman, addressing issues related to the fight against terrorism, money laundering and human trafficking [1]. Additionally, Jordan ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crimes [2], although with a reservation on Article 35 of the Convention. In relation to the accusations of defence personnel selling arms meant to enter Syria via the black market in 2016 [3], no official statement was issued by the Government and no further investigation followed. The Government of Jordan has not shown any active attempt to tackle issues around the penetration of organised crimes into the defence sector.

Civil Society Organisations and the media have not reported whether organised crime has penetrated within the Ministry of Defence or the Kosovo Security Forces [1].

Senior Kosovo Government officials, including the acting Prime Minister, have stated that the executive would immediately take action in case organised crime or organised criminal activities and corruption were to take place within public institutions [1], namely in the Ministry of Defence of the Kosovo Security Forces. However, it is difficult to prove that the Government would really act when there is no evidence so far of organised crime [2].
The Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan for 2018-2022 was adopted by the Kosovo Government in March 2018 [3]. However, these documents were not submitted to the Kosovo Assembly until October 2018 and still need to be approved [3]. Bearing in mind that this Strategy and Action Plan document is not yet approved, it is difficult to confirm that the strategy will ensure anti-corruption measures within the defence institutions in Kosovo.

There is no evidence through media investigations or prosecution reports that suggest that organised crime has penetrated the security agencies in Kuwait. There is little crime in Kuwait as a country in the first place.

The United States’ travel advisory to Kuwait says to simply exercise normal caution. The country is not considered by regional security experts to be an important stop for the weapons or drug smuggling trade that is flourishing in nearby Iraq. Since 2015, the authorities have said that they have seized one large cache of explosives and weapons on a rural farm and a handful of shipments of illegal narcotics at its maritime ports (1).

That being said, Kuwait does have a stable blackmarket for alcohol, which is illegal in the conservative country, journalists and activists say. This blackmarket can’t exist in its current state without some collusion from figures inside the security agencies, analysts said (2).

Kuwait also had a growing hard drugs scene — a Government official told Al Rai Media in January that there may be up to 20,000 addicts in the country. But while some activists think that some Interior Ministry officials may be turning a blind eye, no solid evidence has emerged to back this up and the Government continues to say that it is cracking down on the matter (3).

There may be some reason to suspect that figures in the security agencies have a hand in the local gun smuggling business, but one cannot discount the fact that the authorities passed a law in 2016 that allows the police to search homes believed to have guns in them, according to the Persian gulf news outlet, Al Bayan (4), and activists (5 and 6).

The media does not follow the issue closely and the market appears to be too small to be of interest to many journalists and officials, so the public, as well as observers, lack a clear understanding of its depth and origin. Some activists believe that the security officials involved in the business are just front for powerful lawmakers, but they base this on unconfirmed political chatter.

The internal laws of the police and the military show that the Government is aware that organised criminal networks could penetrate its agencies (1 and 2). Each employee is evaluated each year by his superiors, according to article 53 of the police law and 56 of the military, and can anonymously approach the ACA to report any suspicious activity inside the institution to external auditors, who are concerned with performance as well as financial corruption.

(These yearly evaluations do not apply to officers whose rank is higher than colonels, but article 55 of the military law and 52 of the police law say that they keep assessment files on everyone.)

If an officer is believed to be breaking article 14 of the military law and 15 of the police, which forbids him from getting involved in any kind of commerce, legal or otherwise, and from giving away information or engaging in behavior that “does not befit the dignity of the military,” he would be investigated by military prosecutors and could be referred to a military trial, if the matter is too grave to be resolved by a disciplinary committee. However, there is no clear criteria that establishes what violations need to be addressed by a military court. Similar laws apply to the KNG (3).

There may be no doubt that these agencies would internally deal with such threats adequately, but one cannot overlook the fact that the military judiciary is not independent as it falls under the control of the Defence Minister, who appoints its leaders (4). Therefore, if the top of the Defence Ministry is penetrated, for example, the agency would be left without an internal solution to the problem.

This is less of a problem for the police, since the Interior Minister does not have control over the military judiciary.

Kuwait’s ACA laws also identify this issue as part of the problems its auditors are meant to tackle (5).

There have been no reports of military involvement in sectors in which organised crime operates. Therefore, this risk is very low. This was confirmed in the interview. [1]

The government is well aware of the risks posed by the organised crime. It has adopted a Plan for preventing and combating organised crime in for the period of 2018 until 2020. The plan contains provisions where one of the institutions involved is the Military police (MP,) along with multiple other institutions. [1] There is no reason to believe that the government would not be in a position to act if there were risks of penetration by organised crime in the defence and security sector.

No information was found on cases of the penetration of organized crime into the defence sector (1). An expert journalist denied any such cases occurring in the LAF (2). Furthermore, the LAF investigates applicants and newly enrolled cadets in the military academy. Candidates can be disqualified if they have a questionable background or criminal record (3).

No evidence was found of the government trying to tackle the issue of potential penetration of organized crime into the defence and security sector (1). The Military Police are responsible for investigating any crime or violations within the LAF (2). Furthermore, security and defence institutions have worked to fight terrorism and organized crime in the country (3). The GoL with the support of UNSCOL has set a “National Strategy for Preventing Violent Extremism” (4).

Through desk research, the Assessor did not find any evidence organised crime penetrating into the defence and security sector over the last few years. For instance, the media [1] and official government sources such as a report by the Financial Crime Investigation Service (providing a national overview of organised crime) refer to organised crime coming predominantly from drug trafficking, VAT fraud or money laundering. The report does not mention the military or defence sector [2].

In Lithuania’s National Security Strategy (updated in 2017), organised crime is mentioned as ‘a serious challenge to the unity of the European Union’ as well as a cause of regional and global instability which must be given particular attention by national security institutions. According to the strategy, ‘in order to reduce threats posed by organised crime and corruption to public security, economic and political life of the State, the Republic of Lithuania will strengthen prevention and control of the organised crime, with a particular focus on organised criminal groups with links to the intelligence services of other countries or terrorist organisations, as well as crimes that cause the most harm or pose the greatest threat to the society or the State. In order to do so effectively, the Republic of Lithuania aims to implement complex anti-corruption and corruption prevention measures focused on enhancing transparency and responsibility in the public sector; publicise the legislative process and decisions; eliminate unnecessary regulation; improve instruments for investigation of corruption crimes and impose sanctions’ [1]. In addition, the Public Prosecutor’s Office includes a department of organised crime and corruption investigation [2]. Pre-trial investigations about organised crime most often are carried out by the Criminal Police [3]. Recently Criminal Police established a partnership with Romania to tackle the “dark web”, together with Europol, Eurojust and a number of countries investigating organised crime in money laundering throughout Europe [4]. The General Prosecutor’s Office focuses on organised crime as one of its priority areas. For instance, it registered two cases of potential organised crime in 2017 and nine in 2018 [5]. Based on article 249 of the Criminal Code, the Prosecutor’s Office started one pre-trial investigation in 2017 and two in 2018 [5]. Courts analysed eight criminal cases of this kind in 2017 and five in 2018 [5].

The northern parts of Mali have been an important area of transit for smugglers for at least the past ten years following decades of underinvestment and poor governance in the regions [1, 2, 5, 8].¹ ² ⁵ ⁸ The smuggling of subsidised food, cigarettes, fuel, arms and human-beings has become embedded in the local economy, in a region which for centuries has served as an important trading route across the Sahara desert [1, 2, 5, 8, 9].¹ ² ⁵ ⁸ ⁹
Smuggling and the complicity of state officials reached its peak under the government of Amadou Toumani Touré, who was President between 2002 and 2012. As ICG notes “Under the ATT government, relations between the centre of power in Bamako and the periphery rested on a loose network of personal, clientelistic, even mafia-style alliances with regional elites with reversible loyalties rather than on robust democratic institutions.”² During this period, Mali even became a trafficking route for cocaine from Latin America. In 2009, a Boeing 727 carrying up to ten tonnes of cocaine crash-landed after taking off from an airstrip in Gao.³ In 2010, another plane carrying several tonnes of cocaine landed at an air-strip in Kayes, in the west of the country, where it was reportedly received by several local officials, including military officials.³
According to many observers, the military and many politicians were effectively embroiled in organised crime and “have bolstered their political and military positions of power using illegal income”.¹ A report by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime claimed that illicit trafficking “defined the nature of the political crisis in Mali,” has “entrenched itself into the Malian ethnography,” and has become “thoroughly integrated within political and military structures in northern Mali”.⁹
Since the collapse of the Malian state in 2012 and the election of IBK in 2013, reports of drug trafficking have dried up amid “some tangible efforts to reform the legal system and tentatively enforce some of the legal mechanisms that exist to tackle such problems”.⁶ Even so, there is still widespread evidence that security officials remain complicit in human trafficking. The Netherlands Institute for International Relations highlights that corruption is particularly visible in the police and security forces, where jobs are distributed as political favours and sold at a price.⁷ “A job in customs, for example, can allegedly be bought for 2 million CFA (3,023 EUR). According to a European expert with extensive knowledge of the Malian security and justice sector, some 80 percent of recruits join the security forces in this manner. At the dozens of roadblocks along the way to Bamako and Gao, migrants pay a toll of between 1,000 and 5,000 CFA (1.50–7.50 EUR) to the security forces that control them. According to key respondents from the region, the Gao gendarmeries also take migrants off the bus at the city entrance. Migrants reportedly have to pay a tax between 2,000 and 5,000 CFA (3–7.50 EUR) and are then handed over to the smugglers who take them under their wing. In other cases, migrants are arrested after entering Gao, and smugglers pick them up from the police station in exchange for a bribe.”⁷ Security officials are also reportedly implicated in the issuing of false passports.⁷

Since the collapse of the Malian state in 2012 and the election of IBK in 2013, reports of drug trafficking have dried up amid “some tangible efforts to reform the legal system and tentatively enforce some of the legal mechanisms that exist to tackle such problems”.⁶ In collaboration with EU partners, the government is also working to reform the army – to train, improve the capabilities and cohesion of the armed forces, as well as improve their resources and reduce corruption. But, in the view of The Netherlands Institute for International Relations, “addressing the issue of irregular migration” and thus official complicity within the trafficking industry, “remains one of the lowest priorities on the government’s agenda”.⁷ The Brookings Institute study agrees, saying that “Mali’s commitment remains largely rhetorical, and that few of the planned measures have been vigorously implemented”.⁶
The Malian Customs Directorate relies on a mere 2,000 men to watch more than 7,000 km of borders.⁷ Before the 2012 crisis only two border posts were operational in the region of Kidal, only one in Gao and none in Timbuktu. Today, none of the existent customs posts along the Malian borders are permanently operated, including the three border posts in the northern regions.⁷ “Controlling borders falls under the responsibility of no less than seven distinct security forces reporting to four different ministries. These forces are the Army, the National Guard, the Gendarmerie, the National Police, the Central Office Against Drugs (CNO), Customs, and the Forest Guards. In practice, these forces suffer from gaps in personnel, equipment, and infrastructure, as well as from a lack of inter-organizational coordination and training. While there is pressure from donors to engage in a structural reform of security forces and to develop a comprehensive border strategy to tackle human smuggling, the Malian government so far has not made this its priority.”

There is a moderate likelihood of penetration by organised crime into the defence and security sector. There were at least two high level cases related to possible penetration of organised crime in the military and intelligence, [1][2][3][4][5][6] while various stakeholders repeatedly claimed that prominent members of the intelligence services are linked to organised crime. [1][7][8]

For example, Montenegrin military police seized around 50 kilograms of drugs on board a naval training ship, hours before it was scheduled to take students on a training cruise. [2]

Zoran Lazovic was allegedly forced into retirement from Montenegro’s National Security Agency in 2015 following years of media speculation about his alleged ties to organised crime groups, first triggered by a video that surfaced in 2010 and appeared to show Lazovic at the wedding of alleged Montenegrin drugs trafficker Safet Kalic.[2] Lazovic was recently appointed to a senior post in the police tasked with fighting organised crime and corruption [3].

Another official of the intelligence services, Vlatko Rakocevic, allegedly ordered a police officer to release Naser Kelmendi, a prominent organised crime figure. [5]

According to the MoD, however, there is very low likelihood of military involvement in sectors in which organised crime operates, because the Ministry of Defence has established an effective system for combating organized crime in the defence sector, by establishing the Intelligence and Security Directorate by the Law on Defence and the Rulebook on Internal Organization and Systematization of the Ministry of Defence, which continuously collects data on activities that could be qualified as criminal offenses with elements of organized crime when employees of the Ministry and persons serving in the Armed Forces appear as perpetrators of these offenses.

The government is not actively tackling the problem of possible penetration of organised crime into the defence and security sector, but its officials claim these are only incidents. [1] Organised crime is not addressed in the Integrity Plans of defence [2][3] and security institutions. [4] Military and intelligence leaders fail to publicly address this issue. [5][6][7][8][9]

According to the MoD, however, the Government is aware of the fact that organized crime is always able to infiltrate the defence sector, and it is taking measures to prevent this phenomenon, as well as measures for an effective and rapid response if it occurs. The Ministry of Defence has established an effective system for combating organized crime in the defence sector, by establishing the Intelligence and Security Directorate by the Law on Defence and the Rulebook on Internal Organization and Systematization of the Ministry of Defence, which continuously collects data on activities that could be qualified as criminal offenses with elements of organized crime when employees of the Ministry and persons serving in the Armed Forces appear as perpetrators of these offenses.

Both interviewees stated the difficulty (bordering on the impossible) to investigate an organised crime among the Moroccan armed forces. Although they alluded to potential cases of organised crime, they did not provide tangible details (1)(2).

No evidence of organised crime among the Moroccan armed forces was found in recent media investigations or prosecution reports (3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)

Historical context shows a strong defiance of the current King (and his predecessor before him) towards the armed forces, based on a series of attempted coups in the 1970s. It is therefore likely that no wide-scale organised crime occurs within the armed forces, as the King is wary that they become an influential counter-power.

No evidence was found in the media or prosecution reports to suggest that the government is alert and prepared to address organised crime within the defence and security sector (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)

The latest public case of corruption resulted in the initial conviction of the culprit (whose sentence was subsequently overturned) and the conviction of the whistle-blower (13)(14).

Interviewees referred to the ‘fifth office’ (5e bureau), an internal body within the military tasked with preventing « influence of foreign forces » on the Moroccan armed forces. However its mission in relation to organised crime and corruption was unclear, as was its political independence and its effectiveness (15)(16).

The extent of penetration of organised crime into the Nigerien defence and security sector is difficult to evaluate. The likelihood of organised crime being involved with the defence and security sectors is moderate. The scale of trafficking implies a degree of cooperation with the defence/security sector to allow for illicit flows to take place, even if there are no specific cases of collusion. Source 1, the Small Arms Survey (March 2017), for example, describes how the Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN), police, gendarmerie, National Guard, and customs are responsible for seizing arms. Some of the seized arms/ammunition are reportedly added to their arsenals, which violates Article 17 of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons (2006), to which Niger is a signatory nation. Such cases reveal instances in which legislation is not enforced. Niger’s geography and weak communications infrastructure also further exposes the country to organised crime.
Given the scale of trafficking that occurs, security and defence forces are likely to be complicit. The activity of networks engaged in smuggling of migrants and trafficking of human beings, as well as arms (1) and drugs (2) towards Niger’s northern borders remains a significant challenge (3). The assessor found no media investigations covering the issue. However, some media coverage suggested that defence and security actors do have some level of involvement with trafficking (4).

There is evidence that the Nigerien government is aware of the possible involvement of some elements of the defence and security sector in organised crime, but its response is unclear and inconsistent.
For example, in May 2015 Niger adopted the law on unlawful trafficking of migrants that provides for a large variety of sanctions, including 10 years imprisonment for involvement in the illegal trafficking of migrants (1). According to the minister of the interior, under the 2015 law, several gendarmes were dismissed, around 200 persons arrested and 72 sentenced, while others are still awaiting trial (2). However, on a broader level, as the report of the ANLTP emphasises, the 2015 law has seriously undermined the local economy in the Agadez region, which relied heavily on income generated through trafficking (3). The Institute for Security Studies report underlined similar conclusions. It states that “interventions designed to reduce migration flows and enhance protection for the migrants must be predicated on a far more nuanced understanding of local dynamics and the non-state actors facilitating the trade, so as to avoid destabilising one of the few pockets of stability in an already volatile region” (4). Therefore, even though there is evidence that authorities are aware of possible collusion, the difficulties in investigating and in prosecuting are deeply connected to the complex social and economic context.
On a broader level, Niger has lately enforced institutions that contribute to fighting organised crime: High Authority for the Fight against Corruption and Assimilated Offences – HALCIA, Central Service for the Fight against Terrorism-SCLCT, National Financial Information Processing Unit-CENTIF (see question 20 for details). Provided with different mandates, these institutions do not seem to cooperate closely, while corruption and organised crime are closely interrelated. 
Regardless of these shortfalls, Niger has developed close cooperation with the UNODC. However, it did not ratify the Protocol against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (5). Despite government awareness of the threat of organised crime, its attempts to address the issue is inconsistent: the fight against organised crime is not sufficiently and explicitly connected to anti-corruption policy.

There are credible reports of collusion between the security agencies and organised crime such as oil bunkering. There is evidence of the existence of a mutually beneficial relationship as security agencies are slow to respond and deal with criminality in the oil sector. A new report detailing the complexities of ongoing massive oil theft in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta says there is extensive evidence that some corrupt members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) actively participate and profit from oil theft and illegal oil refining (1), (2).
The report, published by Stakeholder Democracy Network, SDN, in October this year, says the entire oil theft is carried out under the watch and protection of the JTF. The report is the first that explains the complexities of the oil theft business in the Niger Delta region. The activities of the oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism for-profit suggests that there is a degree of collusion between some military personnel and the individuals engaged in oil theft and bunkering activities. This does not suggest that criminal gangs have penetrated the military establishment. However, it does indicate a degree of collusion or cooperation between individuals engaged in criminal activities and members of the armed forces. Senior officials have consistently maintained that any service personnel caught engaging in such activities will be prosecuted.

The response of the government has been unclear and inconsistent. While several high ranking officials have been on trial for corruption, allegations against other high ranking officials have not been investigated. “More senior officers in the army, navy, and mobile police thus also benefit from the theft of oil” (1), (2). Following the 2015 elections, special committees were created to investigate some of the allegations against senior military officers. However, allegations against senior officers such as General Buratai were not fully pursued and resulted in inconclusive outcomes.

The Buhari administration has investigated and prosecuted some high ranking defence officials for a range of offences including corruption and embezzlement of public funds (1), (3). However, allegations against some officials such as the Chief of General Staff General Buratai have not been investigated. This has contributed to allegations of bias against the Buhari administration (4). “The laissez-faire attitude of the Buhari administration to these substantial allegations of corruption against these senior public officials is telling. These allegations are in addition to substantial allegations of corruption against other senior officials of the Buhari administration – Chief Rotimi Amaechi [Minister of Transport], Mr. Babatunde Fashola [Minister of Power, Works & Housing], Major General Tukur Buratai [Chief of Army Staff] and Alhaji Abba Kyari [Chief of Staff to the President]” (2), (4) “None of the allegations against any of these officials have been thoroughly investigated neither have any of them faced sanctions of any sort. The Buhari administration has been very dismissive of the allegations and has treated calls for thorough investigations with disdain” (5).

Military leaders have addressed such issues publicly and reiterated a zero-tolerance for corruption (6).

Prior to 2015, a number of high-profile corruption cases within the Ministry of Defence suggested the spread of organised crime. In 2007, the ex-Minister of Defence Ljuben Paunovski was prosecuted on allegations of embezzlement of food procurement for the Army [1]. He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. His successor, Vlado Buckovski, also Prime Minister between 2004-2006, was charged in 2007 with embezzlement. Together with the former Army Chief of Staff General Metodi Stamboliski, he was suspected for being involved in an arms procurement deal costing the country 2.5 million euros. They were both sentenced to three and a half years in jail but the Supreme court annulled Buckovski’s verdict and the case was reverted to the primary court [2]. In 2014, the Head of the Ministry of Defence Logistics Department and eight other people were prosecuted on the allegations of corrupt activities relating to the maintenance and repair of the Army helicopters.They were charged for embezzlement and money laundering costing the country about 2,7 million USD [3]. Following 2015, there are no sources that point to illegal behavior within the MoD and the Army conected with penetration of organosed crime. The 2018 Strategic Defence Review recognizes corruption and organized crime as threats to national security. [4]

The Ministry of Defence clearly always condemns acts of crime within its own staff and offers support for investigations. The Ministry also highlights its integrity and that of the Army’s employees, underlining the unacceptability of any criminal acts [1]. However, prior to 2015, there was no evidence of any clear strategy or policy for fighting organised crime. Given the repeated nature of all these acts prior to 2015, it seems that there was little to no political action to fight organised crime within the Ministry of Defence. But the he enactment of the Integrity Plan by the Ministry of Defence in 2016 has laid the foundations for better addressing and fighting corruption of organised crime [2]. In this Plan, the Ministry of Defence explicitly and publicly established an internal legal and political framework and strategy for fighting corruption and organised crime. Moreover, the 2018 Strategic Defence Review recognizes corruption and organized crime as threats to national security. [3]

According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18, published by the World Forum, Oman is ranked 3rd in the world for a lack of organized crime (scoring 6.6/7), maintaining the same ranking since the GI 2015 report and third to Norway and Finland (1). Six years ago, the sultan signed the Arab Convention against Organised Transnational Crime which was ratified by Royal Decree 6/2015 (2). The convention sets out legislation to combat, money laundering, corruption, crimes of private sector and fraud on financial and banking institutes to name a relevant few sections (2). According to Expat Focus, “there is no organized crime in the country” which is attributed to the strength of the police force (3). Likewise, the Global Competitiveness Index ranks the reliability of the police service at 11 in the world (1). According to our sources, there has never been a case where police or a military personals part of organized crime for the last ten years (4). Due to reports of the lack of organized crime in Oman, the likelihood of the military being involved in organized crimes, or organized crime has penetrated the military, is very low.

Oman has numerous pieces of legislation against organized crime including the Cyber Law Crime (12/2011); Arab Convention Against Organized Transnational Crime (6/2015); Royal Decree against Human Trafficking (126/2008); and the UN Convention against Transnational Crime signed in May 2005. These pieces of legislation reflect efforts made by the Omani authorities to prevent organized crime; however, no reference is made to the defence or security sectors. There is no evidence of organized crimes having penetrated the defence and security sector, but Oman is one of the top three countries in the world with the lowest rates for organized crime generally. Therefore, there is a substantial governmental response to organized crimes. According to our sources, the government and army are making huge efforts to tackle any possible or potential threats to security through organized crimes (3).

In many cases, there are unsubstantiated allegations that security/ armed apparatus are involved in crimes to cover instances of corruption(1). The social media contains loads of such rumors and speculations; however, none of them are taken seriously or proven either in journalistic ways or others(2).

According to our sources, “as there is no organized crime within the national forces, the government do not act or aware of such crimes/ groups”. (1) However, there are influential groups within the security apparatuses which are affiliated with the ruling party. The government is ineffective in facing them. They do not react as the security agencies’ commanders are well connected to the ruling party -Fatah- and president Abbas(2).

The likelihood of the penetration of the defence and security sector by organised crime is low to moderate. There are several reports in the media about the activity of Police or Central Anticorruption Bureau in this field, but they are mostly related to the development of internal criminal groups rather than to the penetration of external criminal groups into the defence sector [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

MoD leaders have not highlighted the risk publicly in the last few years, probably because the risk level is low to moderate. The MoD has a detailed scope of operations in place for the Military Police and it indicates the fight against organised crime and corruption as one of its tasks [1]. There are several examples of investigative activities undertaken by state institutions [2, 3, 4].

There is no evidence that there has been any sign of organized crime in the military and defence sector. According to our research, there is not organised crime within the armed forces or the security agencies in Qatar [1,2].

The Government and armed forces take crimes very seriously. As the country is waiting for the 2022 World Cup, security and safety is a priority. Therefore, if it were to become aware of organised crime, the Government would tackle it in an unprecedented manner [1,2].

According to several of our sources, there has not been any case of organized crime within the armed forces of Saudi Araba in the last five years (1). The defence sector has a very low likelihood of being engaged in criminal acts, including borders and trafficking (1), (2). Organisations such as Human Rights Watch have reported that in the past, Saudi border officials were complicit in trafficking operations, as well as the abuse of migrants (3). Increased controls on the borders between Yemen and Saudi Arabia have reportedly made smuggling migrants into the country increasingly difficult following the onset of the war between the two countries (4).

According to a researcher on migrant smuggling who has done fieldwork in the region:

“It is generally believed among those on the ground that there had to be some degree of complicity between Saudi security forces and smugglers, as there are serious risks of trying to evade detection altogether, due to concern that Saudi security forces might mistake migrants attempting to cross the border for rebels. According to some Ethiopians who had arrived in Saudi Arabia within the last two years, while they weren’t sure if their smugglers worked with Saudi security, they thought they did, given that they were able to cross the border without incident” (5).

The Saudi government does not tolerate organized crime, especially as it is prone to terrorist attacks, and it hosts the annual Hajj, which hosts millions of people. Therefore, the government takes all possible actions to fight any possibility of organized crime effectively (1), (2). Saudi Arabia has also stepped up its coordination with international bodies, including INTERPOL, to discuss and address its security concerns. The Ministry of Interior recently inaugurated a long-term workshop for Saudi border guards in collaboration with the International Migration Organisation in March 2018 (3). The workshop’s stated aims were to help improve mechanisms of fighting trans-border crime and strengthen networks of coordination and exchange of information (4).

The risk of organised crime penetration in the defence sector is fairly low. In the past three years, there was only one case, which raised suspicion on existing connections between military personnel and people from criminal structures. In February 2016, the Military Union filed a criminal complaint about the abuse of official position against two military officials claiming they have enabled persons from the criminal milieu (accused of drug smuggling and murder) to use the SAF shooting range. However, due to the alleged lack of evidence, an investigation was never initiated [1, 2].
Prosecutor’s office for organised crime has not received any criminal complaints neither from the Military Security Agency nor the Military Police from January 2016 until June 2018. Moreover, no criminal charges directed against the MoD and the SAF representatives were filed in the designated period [3].

MoD and SAF officials publicly acknowledge and commit to tackling organised crime, though only superficially, along with other risks and challenges to security, such as terrorism, extremism, migration etc. [1]. It is difficult to evaluate the government response since the likelihood of organised criminal activity in the defence sector is very low. However, even though an individual development cannot be representative of the entire system, the lack of response to the “shooting range” case is concerning.

According to our sources, there is very little organised crime within the armed forces. The army and the MoD initiate and tackle any suspicion of possible crimes committed by a member of the armed forces(1,2). The review of media reports didn’t show mentions of penetration of organised crime in the defence sector (3).

Although there is a very low likelihood of organised crime, the MoD and the armed forces work effectively to tackle any possible practices of it (1,2). The review of media reports didn’t show mentions of Government measures to tackle organised crime in the defence sector, as there are no known cases of organised crime within the military (3).

According to 2015 data, the most common violations amongst servicemen was unauthorized retirement or service – 63.3% [1]. The Military Law-Enforcement Service stated there was a drop in the number of offences in 2017 [2]. At the same time, there is strong evidence that individual servicemen or groups of servicemen are involved in illegal trade with the NGCA across the frontline in the east of Ukraine [3, 4]. In some instances, activities related to illegal trade with the NGCA can have the characteristics of organized crime [5].

The government is aware of the possibility of organised crime in the defence sector [1] and declares its will to take corresponding actions [2]. At the same time, those actions tend to aim at combatting manifestations of offences and not the root causes [3]. Additionally, neither organised criminal actions nor risks of AFU individual servicemen being involved in the illegal trade are included in the anti-corruption policy [4, 5].

The UAE, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2017/2018, has ranked the seventh globally for the absence of organised crime in general (1). According to our multiple sources, there is a total absence of the organized crime within the army (2), (3), (4), (5).

The UAE is one of the top 7 countries in the world with the lowest rates for organised crime generally, thus assessing governmental response to organised crimes is irrelevant in this context. However, it is important to highlight that the UAE has taken many measures and demonstrated a strong commitment to preventing organised crime in the country, and has apparently succeeded in doing so (1), (2), (3), (4). There is no evidence at all of these efforts extending to the defence sector.

Country Sort by Country 19a. Penetration of organised crime Sort By Subindicator 19b. Government response Sort By Subindicator
Albania 25 / 100 0 / 100
Algeria 50 / 100 0 / 100
Angola 25 / 100 50 / 100
Armenia 75 / 100 50 / 100
Azerbaijan 0 / 100 50 / 100
Bosnia and Herzegovina 50 / 100 0 / 100
Burkina Faso 0 / 100 50 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 50 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 50 / 100 50 / 100
Egypt 50 / 100 50 / 100
Estonia 100 / 100 75 / 100
Georgia 100 / 100 NEI
Ghana 50 / 100 0 / 100
Hungary 75 / 100 50 / 100
Iraq 0 / 100 0 / 100
Jordan 50 / 100 0 / 100
Kosovo 100 / 100 50 / 100
Kuwait 100 / 100 75 / 100
Latvia 100 / 100 100 / 100
Lebanon 100 / 100 50 / 100
Lithuania 100 / 100 75 / 100
Mali 0 / 100 50 / 100
Montenegro 50 / 100 0 / 100
Morocco 50 / 100 0 / 100
Niger 50 / 100 50 / 100
Nigeria 0 / 100 50 / 100
North Macedonia 50 / 100 75 / 100
Oman 100 / 100 50 / 100
Palestine 100 / 100 0 / 100
Poland 75 / 100 50 / 100
Qatar 100 / 100 100 / 100
Saudi Arabia 50 / 100 100 / 100
Serbia 75 / 100 50 / 100
Tunisia 100 / 100 100 / 100
Ukraine 50 / 100 50 / 100
United Arab Emirates 100 / 100 75 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Department for International Development and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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