MOCA to Help Weed out Corruption
Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says establishment of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as an independent body will help to address corruption within the society.
The Senate, on June 8, approved the MOCA Bill, with 77 amendments. The MOCA Bill was passed in the House of Representatives in January.
“We will not only focus on the little man or on street-level criminals. We will intensify our efforts at nabbing the persons who facilitate criminal organisations –the corrupt businessmen, elected or non-elected public servants, doctors, lawyers and anyone else who benefits from the proceeds of crime. Criminal enterprises depend on a network like any other corporation,” he said.
Dr. Chang made the remarks during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 12.
He said corruption undermines the institutions of the State and leads to inefficiency, loss of growth and loss of economic prospects.
“This Government is committed to dealing with this problem without prejudice or equivocation,” he pointed out.
MOCA will be dedicated to combatting serious crimes in collaboration with other local and foreign law-enforcement agencies and strategic partners. The agency will have a dedicated and specialised team of investigators, who will investigate and prosecute the complex cases that are characteristic of organised criminal networks.
In the meantime, Dr. Chang said the revision of the anti-gang law is expected to be finalised during this legislative year.
“These amendments will include clarity about how a gang would be declared, special measures in court proceedings to protect witnesses, strategies to monitor gang members and other provisions to address inherent weaknesses in the current legislation,” he noted.
Turning to the review of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), Dr. Chang said this is being undertaken with a view to strengthening provisions and ensure compliance with the recommendations emanating from the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce, including effective criminal sanctions for money-laundering offences.
“We will be using the full force of the law to go after these criminals, taking the profit out of crime, seizing their assets and those assets that they have placed in the names of members of their families,” he pointed out.
Dr. Chang said the Government will ensure that those who align themselves with organised criminal groups are punished “as we go in relentless pursuit and disruption of serious and organised crime”.
He added that the Government will continue to pursue areas to improve citizen security. These include public order and law enforcement, strong anti-gang and anti-corruption strategies, targeted social-intervention initiatives in volatile communities, and transformation of the police force into a modern service.