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NOFO: Enhancing National Assets Recovery in Moldova

NOFO: Enhancing National Assets Recovery in Moldova

Deadline: 30-Jun-24

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a project to strengthen Criminal Assets Recovery Agency’s (CARA) role and mandate in coordinating the national assets recovery system.

Project Vision

  • The project envisions a reinvigorated Moldovan Criminal Assets Recovery Agency that stands at the forefront of international best practices, demonstrating efficiency, coordination, and collaboration in the detection, confiscation, and management of assets acquired through criminal activities. By investing in comprehensive capacity-building measures, both domestically and abroad, the project aspires to position CARA as a leading force in combating organized crime and corruption, fostering a safer and more just society. The successful realization of this intervention will result in a transformed CARA, serving as a beacon of justice and integrity. Moldova will witness a reduction in the prevalence of criminal assets, fostering public trust and confidence in the nation’s commitment to combating organized crime and corruption. The project’s ultimate impact will extend beyond borders, contributing to the broader international effort to create a more secure and resilient global financial system.

Project Goal and Objectives

  • The primary goal of this project is to empower CARA in its mission to recover assets obtained through criminal means by addressing the aforementioned challenges. The project aims to enhance CARA’s capabilities in detection, confiscation, and management of criminally obtained assets, both within Moldova and across international borders. Furthermore, it seeks to foster improved collaboration with national authorities and international peer bodies to create a more effective and integrated system for national asset recovery. The successful implementation of this project will not only strengthen Moldova’s fight against financial crime but also align CARA’s practices with EU and international standards. The project will also help to advance the U.S. foreign policy objectives and INL strategic goals, in particular: Combat corruption and illicit financing to strengthen democratic institutions, advance rule of law, and reduce transnational crime and its enablers.
  • Objective 1: Improving the legislative framework and policies in the area of assets recovery. Current legislation and policies governing assets forfeiture in Moldova lack the necessary clarity, scope, and effectiveness required for a comprehensive and streamlined assets recovery system. Existing regulatory framework may exhibit gaps, inconsistences, and limitations, hindering the optimal functioning of agencies involved in assets forfeiture. Inadequate provisions may impede the ability to track, seize, and manage assets related to illicit activities, thereby compromising Government’s ability to combat corruption, organized crime and other forms of financial wrongdoing. A thorough review and improvement of the legislative and policy landscape are essential to empower agencies involved in asset recovery, enhance coordination, and fortify the legal framework (including internal SoPs) necessary for successful assets forfeiture efforts in alignment with European standards.
    • Actions to be taken:
      • Conduct a comprehensive review of existing regulatory frameworks and policies related to national asset recovery
      • Identify gaps, inconsistencies, and areas requiring improvement in the legislative and policy landscape
      • Provide assistance in drafting and implementing reforms to empower CARA with clear authority, expand scope, and enhance tools for effective coordination
      • Develop and refine internal Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) aligned with European standards
  • Objective 2: Enhancing collaboration and partnerships. The lack of robust partnerships, both domestically and internationally, limits the capacity to track, freeze, and repatriate assets linked to criminal activities. Inadequate sharing of information and resources across agencies and borders exacerbates the challenges faced by asset recovery initiatives. Addressing these deficiencies is crucial for establishing a cohesive and well-coordinated national and international network, thereby enhancing Moldovan law enforcement capacities to combat financial crimes, corruption, and other illicit activities through more effective collaboration and partnerships.
    • Actions to be taken:
      • Provide assistance to strengthen collaboration between law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and other relevant stakeholders involved in assets recovery.
      • Create and establish tools that will ensure the seamless exchange of information between CARA and other agencies for effective investigation.
      • Help to enhance partnerships with international organizations and foreign counterparts to facilitate cross-border cooperation in assets recovery efforts.
  • Objective 3: Capacity building. The current state of CARA reveals deficiencies in both human resources and technological infrastructure. There exists a critical gap in the skills and expertise of personal involved in assets recovery, from investigation to legal proceedings and assets management. Moreover, the absence of advances IT solutions hampers efficient data analysis, information sharing, and case management, limiting the overall effectiveness of assets recovery efforts. Insufficient training programs and lack of investment in cutting-edge IT tools hinder the ability to adapt to evolving challenges and exploit emerging opportunities in the field of assets forfeiture. Addressing these capacity-related issues is imperative for building a skilled and technology-savvy workforce, thereby fortifying Government’s ability to successfully track, seize, and manage assets associated with illicit activities.
    • Actions to be taken:
      • Develop training programs for CARA staff to enhance their skills in investigation, legal proceedings, and assets management.
      • Improve CARA’s IT infrastructure to support data analysis, information sharing, and case management.
      • Provide ongoing training to keep personnel abreast of evolving challenges and opportunities in the field of asset forfeiture
      • Establish a knowledge-sharing platform to foster collaboration and expertise development within CARA
  • Objective 4: Increasing public awareness and advocacy. Insufficient public understanding of the importance and complexity of criminal assets forfeiture not only undermines the potential deterrent effect on criminal behavior but also poses a significant obstacle to law enforcement agencies and legal entities seeking to recover ill-gotten gains. This gap in awareness highlights the pressing need for a comprehensive public awareness and advocacy initiative, aimed at educating and engaging the Moldovan society in the fight against financial crimes and promoting the legitimacy and efficacy of asset forfeiture measures.
    • Actions to be taken:
      • Help to increase public awareness about the importance of national asset recovery in combating corruption and organize crime.
      • Advocate for public support and understanding to build a favorable environment for CARA’s initiatives.
      • Organize informational events, seminars, and workshops to engage the public in the fight against financial crimes
      • Establish partnerships with media outlets for widespread dissemination of information
  • Objective 5: Increasing the efficiency of assets management and disposal procedures. Efficient management and disposal of recovered illegal assets are crucial to prevent offenders from reclaiming or benefitting from their ill-gotten gains. Without proper mechanisms, there is a risk that seized assets could find their way back into the hands of criminals, undermining the effect of asset forfeiture. The current system of handling the confiscated assets is not fully efficient, lacking a standardized framework, leading to delays, resources wastage, and potential loopholes that might compromise the entire prosecution.
    • Actions to be taken:
      • Develop efficient mechanisms for the management and disposal of recovered assets, ensuring that they are put to productive use for the benefit of the public.
      • Establish a standardized framework for handling confiscated assets to eliminate delays and resource wastage
      • Implement procedures for transparent and accountable asset disposal for the benefit of the public
  • Objective 6: Increasing transparency, and improving monitoring and evaluation techniques. The absence of transparent practices not only undermines the principles of accountability and good governance but also creates opportunities for corruption and misconduct within the assets forfeiture process. Consequently, the inadequacy in transparency hampers the public’s ability to assess the impact of asset forfeiture on combating organized crime and corruption, necessitating urgent attention to establish a more open and accountable framework that ensures public confidence.
    • Actions to be taken:
      • Help to increase transparency in CARA’s operations, including its decision-making processes and handling of recovered assets.
      • Create mechanisms for external oversite to enhance accountability.
      • Establish a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to assess CARA’s performance and impact regularly.
      • Develop a system based on performance metrics to identify areas of improvement, and adjust activities, operations and even strategies accordingly.

Funding Information

  • Total available funding: $1,000,000.00
  • Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $700,000.00 to a maximum of $1,000,000.00
  • Length of performance period: 24 months
  • Anticipated program start date: August 18th, 2024
  • Number of awards anticipated: one award

Project Activities and Deliverables

  • The grantee will play a pivotal role in orchestrating workshops and seminars, creating a platform for knowledge exchange and skill development. These events will not only serve as educational tools but will also facilitate collaboration among stakeholders.
  • Additionally, study visits will be organized to gain insights from successful implementations elsewhere. The involvement of national and international experts forms a critical component, as their assessments will provide a well-rounded evaluation of the system. Their recommendations will guide the project towards optimal functionality and efficiency.
  • Furthermore, the project envisions the procurement of essential equipment and the provisioning of relevant software and IT solutions. This dual approach ensures that the beneficiary receives not only the hardware necessary for the project’s implementation but also the tailored software solutions required for seamless integration and operation. This strategic investment in technology aims to empower the beneficiary, fostering self-sustainability and long-term success.
  • The combination of capacity-building through workshops, expert assessments, and the provision of cutting-edge technology underscores the holistic approach undertaken by the implementing organization to achieve the project’s objectives.

Participants and Audiences

  • Principal Beneficiary: Criminal Assets Recovery Agency (CARA) of the National Anti-Corruption Centre
  • Indirect beneficiaries: Office for Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering, State Tax Service, General Police Inspectorate, Ministry of Justice, General Prosecutor’s Office, Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office

Eligibility Criteria

  • The following organizations are eligible to apply:
    • U.S.-based non-profit/non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
    • U.S.-based educational institutions subject to section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code or section 26 US 115;
    • Foreign-based non-profits/non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
    • Foreign-based educational institutions.

For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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