Senate Suspends Debate on MOCA Bill

Debate on the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) Bill was suspended in the Senate on Friday (March 9) to allow for consideration of a number of matters raised.

State Minister for National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. told JIS News after the sitting that many of the issues have to deal with policy decisions and will require him to speak with Portfolio Minister, Hon. Robert Montague.

“Many of them will also require some research and discussions with the technical teams, so it was thought that it would create a (better) final product if we were to take the time to go through, make the evaluations, meet and determine where we go from there,” he said.

The Bill seeks to transform MOCA as an elite law-enforcement investigative agency, operating autonomously of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

First launched on June 4, 2012 and assuming full operations in September of that same year, MOCA focuses on taking the profit out of crime and aims to target top-level crime figures and their facilitators in a bid to destroy their criminal networks and seize their assets.

In August 2014, MOCA was merged with the JCF’s Anti-Corruption Branch, thereby creating a greater reach and an increased capacity to undertake investigations into persons of interest, including the police and persons occupying public office.

To date, MOCA, with multi-agency support, has conducted approximately 921 operations, 3,467 polygraph examinations, caused 1,060 arrests, charged 691 persons, secured 151 convictions and seized $1.89 billion in assets.

The MOCA Bill was passed in the House of Representatives in January.

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