Proceeds of Crime Act to be Amended
Cabinet has given approval for the amendment of a section of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), which will give the Commissioner of Lands the power to take all necessary action for the State to have ownership of seized property.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, addressing a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, today (October 12), said the amendment will be made to Section 9 (Subsection 3C) of the Act.
This will see to the substitution of the words ‘Commissioner of Lands’ for ‘Commissioner of Land Valuations’, and will give the Commissioner the power, on behalf of the Crown, to do or authorise the doing of anything necessary to obtain the registration of the Crown as the owner of property obtained through criminal activity.
“This, in fact, was an error… as the appropriate person or entity to exercise these powers is the Commissioner of Lands, pursuant to Section 4 (2) of the Crown Property Vesting Act,” Senator Reid explained.
He said drafting instructions have been issued to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel for the relevant Bill to effect the amendment.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced this week that the Government is conducting a review of POCA, which should also serve to strengthen enforcement of the Act through a system of financial penalties.
POCA was passed by Parliament in 2007 to replace the Money Laundering Act (MLA) and provides for the investigation, identification and recovery of the proceeds of crime and connected matters.