News Briefing – Week of 7 December

Twenty judges of the Ghanaian Lower Court were arrested after months of investigations following the release of a documentary film in September that showed judges and magistrates accepting bribes to influence their verdicts in court. However, the judges will not be tried for their crimes. Ghana’s Chief of Justice Georgina Wood declared that resolute measures are necessary to ensure the integrity of the judiciary and the judicial service.

Spanish authorities of the port of Valencia seized a 1.4 ton-shipment of pallets made from cocaine. The so-called wooden pallets were made of compressed cocaine disguised as wood. In the operation, two Colombian citizens were arrested on site and 12 others, allegedly responsible for the shipment form Colombia, were also detained during the investigation.

The Vatican announced that, in February 2016, Pope Francis will visit the Mexican states of Michoacan, Chihuahua and Chiapas, areas deeply affected by drug war. During his visit, the pope will likely address social issues as violence stemming from the drug war as well as migration.

United States authorities are allegedly planning to bring formal drug trafficking charges against half a dozen of officials of the highest sphere of the Venezuelan military. According to two US prosecutors, the official announcement will be made in two weeks.

A British national accused of being the leader of a major drug trafficking ring has been extradited to France after being detained in Spain. The operation that lead to the arrest of the man was a result of a two-year joint investigation between the French Office Central pour la Répression du Traffic Illicite des Stupéfiants (OCRTIS), the Spanish Guardia Civil and the British National Crime Agency, with the support of Europol and Eurojust.

In early 2016, Nigeria will receive the visit of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). In 2013, following Nigeria’s full implementation of the mutually agreed Action Plan and the exhibition of a clear political commitment to continue the development of its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)regime, the FATF removed the country from the list of countries with significant deficiencies in this sector.

In 2015, Costa Rica has experienced the most violent year in its history with 528 reported homicides to date. Throughout 2015, the Judicial Investigation Department and the Security Ministry have warned of an increase in the kind of crimes to settle scores between groups of organized crime, particularly drug traffickers.

The son of the former governor of Jigawa State, in Nigeria, lost his appeal to the Federal High Court, which found him guilty of the charge of money laundering brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).