FBI to partner with investigative agencies in crime, graft war

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks after holding talks with DCI boss Mohamed Amin on June 11, 2024. [Fred Kagonye, Standard]

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Director Christopher Wray has just concluded his visit to Kenya where he met different agencies including the DCI, NIS, EACC and the ODPP.

Wray committed that the FBI will continue to strengthen the existing partnerships by offering the agency’s tools and expertise in fighting crime across the board. The Standard security correspondent Fred Kagonye interviewed Wray.

Why Kenya?

One big reason for my reason to visit Kenya is to reinforce our relationships with our FBI partners, they are important given the threat terror organizations like Al-Shabaab pose to security in this region and beyond.

Tackling threats like terrorism requires teamwork and everyone to bring their unique capabilities together and one of the most effective tools to combat the terror threat though it covers other threats as well is the Joint Terrorism Taskforce (JTTF) model that brings together different unique agencies to work together for lasting impact.

Kenya is listed 16th globally in terms of Organized Crime and we have seen emerging crimes like Gold Scams which target foreigners. Does this concern you?

Organised crime is one of those threats that ignore borders and is very transnational in nature taking different forms, some of our partners like the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have been collaborating with agencies here in Kenya for an effective fight against drugs.

We (FBI) always try to follow the money to fight laundering but another part of human trafficking which is obviously one of the worst kinds of threats that we tackle since it impacts one of the most vulnerable groups in our society, children. We have been hosting trainings and sharing expertise to help us all tackle the threat and we are looking to do more.

What was the idea behind JTTF and how would you rate its success?

The model is based on the idea that expertise in one area is effective when we work together. The whole idea is to capitalise on the expertise, experience, intelligence, and sources that each agency has.

The best way to make it happen is to have them at the working level across agencies that trust each other, collaborating and sharing information in a way where action can be taken that maximizes the authority of every agency to impact the threat.

We have been eager to work with DCI and other agencies and the Kenyan government to try and help the JTTF Kenya go off on the right path, we are encouraged by some of the things we have seen and we are looking forward to great things ahead.

How would you describe your cooperation with Kenyan authorities in this fight?

Kenya's collaboration with the FBI has been outstanding and is a big part of my reasons for visiting to say thank you.

How are you helping Kenya to investigate and prosecute terrorism cases successfully?

Among the measures that we have taken to help the Kenyan government fight terrorism is with the launch of JTTF and to continue backing it.

We are also working with our partners here in Kenya to provide cutting-edge tools to investigators on the ground to identify threats and stay ahead of them and we have been working with DCI to bring partners in the region to talk about the threats we are all seeing, to share lessons learnt and best practices and find new way to combat threats coming on the horizon.

What is your parting shot?

Investigating corruption has been at the heart of FBI mission for many decades and is among the most important threats that we investigate because corruption strikes at the heart of the rule of law and public confidence in their institutions in government.

It involves powerful individuals or wealthy and powerful and most important to demonstrate to citizens in any free society that they can have trust in the institutions to investigate those offences. We look forward to collaborating with DCI on that front.