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Experts speak on ways to achieve effective dawn raids at UUBO 4th webinar series

Experts speak on cross border application of data protection regulation at UUBO 5th webinar series

Experts from regulatory bodies, IT, and the legal profession have explained the best practical approaches to carrying out effective dawn raids in organisations.

Speaking during the 4th session of its September series webinar organised by Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (UUBO) in collaboration with its Investigations, Compliance, and Ethics (ICE), Team, Babatunde Irukera, chief executive, the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) said there is a need for the target of a dawn raid to be cooperative with the investigators in a bid to carry out an effective dawn raid. The webinar was titled: Dawn Raids – A practical Approach,

Irukera said dawn raids was part of industrial tools companies must prepare for. According to him, elements of locational visits and surprise are very vital to investigations and it could depend on different factors ranging from the subject of the investigation, nature of the target of the investigation, or the sensitivity of the issues involved.

“We embrace the availability of dawn raids and use it when necessary. So, what we have done is not to approach our work from an escalated investigative standpoint such as dawn raids. The reasons are as follows: It is important for the entire market to familiarise themselves with what really is a real regulatory environment.

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“We also think there are lower hanging fruits that we can quickly develop our capacity in and other things we can quickly do to address market behaviours. We have adopted a philosophy of first trying to remove barriers to market entry before thinking about other tools to regulate competition.

“There is a robust provision with respect to the powers of the regulator to conduct a dawn visit. This is because you have got some intelligence. A dawn raid is conducted to take inventory, get information that will be useful for administrative or potential civil, administrative or criminal litigations or processes,” he explained.

After three successful and engaging events, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie’s Investigations, Compliance and Ethics (ICE) Team held the fourth session of the on-going “UUBO ICE September Series 2020”.

The UUBO ICE September Series is an interactive series of webinar sessions held every Wednesday in September 2020 between 2.00 p.m and 3.30 p.m.

Each session features curated panels of local and international stakeholders and experts, offering richly diverse cross-border perspectives, experience, and best practices on topical ICE issues.

Also speaking at the webinar, Christine Sijuwade, partner, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (UUBO) explained that warrants may not be obtained at all times when carrying out a raid but it will be important to find out if the warrant was issued by a judge or a letter issued by the FCCPC.

“Organisations should ask to see valid means of identification because the act says the investigators need to have their means of investigation on them to check if they are authorised to conduct the raid. They need to also check the name of the organisation stated on the warrant. The warrant must be valid,” Sijuwade said.

Chris Baldwin, Senior Consultant, Legal Technology; CMS Evidence said it is important to have an IT person on sight when investigations are being carried out.

“Have your own IT forensic people available to assist the regulator with the work they are doing. Most of us may not know what they will be taking as they are taking the data. So, you need to be very accurate with the actions taking place. Technology can be used to create focused manageable documents. An IT person will have to change some passwords after the collections are complete,” Baldwin said.

Speaking earlier at the webinar, Xolani Nyali, Partner, Bowmans mentioned some practical steps organisations should take when investigators arrive to include setting aside a board room, organising certain facilities, assigning administrative assistance to investigators, getting the dawn raid response team in place and managing publicity internally.

“The structure of the FCCPC makes it clear that FCCPC conducts its search and seizure operations with a warrant, although there is a mechanism for one without a warrant. You have to check the warrant to ensure it is valid and ensure the premises which are the subject of the raid is the correct one.

“You can talk to the lead investigator to ensure a cooperative conversation. Beyond this, you have to understand what they are looking for and know if there are specific areas of concern. These steps are vital to carrying out an efficient and proper investigation,” Nyali explained.