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  • More than 500 persons have been arrested and billions of dollars in assets seized under the country’s anti-lottery scamming law, since it was passed in 2013.
  • National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, said some of the cases have already resulted in convictions.
  • He was speaking at the inaugural Fraud and Anti-Corruption Conference 2015 being held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston from March 9 to 11.

More than 500 persons have been arrested and billions of dollars in assets seized under the country’s anti-lottery scamming law, since it was passed in 2013.

National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, said some of the cases have already resulted in convictions.

He was speaking at the inaugural Fraud and Anti-Corruption Conference 2015 being held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston from March 9 to 11.

Mr. Bunting said the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, popularly known as the Lotto Scam Act, is among several pieces of anti-crime legislation that have been passed, or are in draft stages, to support the Government’s anti-corruption agenda.

Some of the offences which the Act addresses, include: obtaining any property or inducing any person to confer any benefit on any person by false pretence; knowingly conducting a financial transaction with the proceeds of an offence; and inviting or otherwise inducing a person to visit Jamaica for the purpose of committing an offence under the Act.

“The Ministry of National Security has been targeted in its approach against this specific form of illegal activity, particularly due to its impact on increased murders and other crimes, due to internal disputes, and its impact on the country’s reputation internationally,” Mr. Bunting remarked.

He further noted that as part of a wider anti-corruption thrust, a Joint Select Committee of Parliament is now reviewing the Integrity Commission Bill, which is intended to establish a single Anti-Corruption agency.

The agency is intended to combine the powers of existing organisations set up to deal with corruption, allowing for knowledge sharing, efficient resource allocation and strengthened investigative powers.

The review of the Bill is expected to be completed under the 2015/16 legislative agenda.

Mr. Bunting, however, noted that despite Government efforts, sustained reductions in corruption and fraud cannot be achieved without the collective effort of every citizen.

“We must accept that, to a great extent, corruption prevails because of our tolerance of corrupt activities within our society; so much so, that even generally upstanding citizens at times partake in these activities,” he lamented.

The Minister further added that, “If we are to fight crime and corruption efficiently, our efforts must be consistent. We cannot ‘cherry-pick’ what we tolerate, but we must create an environment where acts of crime and corruption, regardless of their nature, are consistently frowned on and reported.”

The three-day conference was hosted by the Office of the Contractor General, under the theme, ‘Confronting Corruption: Empowering a Generation, Transforming a Nation’.

It is hoped that the event will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to not only review existing monitoring and law enforcement mechanisms, but also broaden the scope of the fight against all forms of corruption.