JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Financial institutions urged to provide the FID with reports, and other information, in order to assist the government’s efforts to clamp down on criminal activities.
  • The authorities will go after institutions that are negligent in filing reports on suspicious financial transactions.
  • Mr. Bunting noted that financial institutions sometimes do not make the connection between money laundering and crime.

National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, is urging financial institutions to provide the Financial Investigations Division (FID) with reports, and other information, on a timely basis, in order to assist the government’s efforts to clamp down on money laundering, and other criminal activities.

Mr. Bunting warned that the authorities will go after institutions that are negligent in filing reports on suspicious financial transactions.

He was speaking on November 27, at the FID’s 2013 conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, under the theme: ‘Taking the Profit Out of Crime: A Collaborative Approach’.

Emphasising the importance of reporting suspicious transactions, the Minister pointed out that access to financial services is very important to criminals, as it offers them legitimacy and protection.

Mr. Bunting noted that financial institutions sometimes do not make the connection between money laundering and crime. Citing the example of the lottery scam, he said that the money garnered from this activity is used to finance gangs and other illegal activities.

The National Security Minister stated that presently, there is a challenge obtaining various reports from financial institutions, as the FID and law enforcement seek to stymie the cash flow to criminals.

“Tracing the money will often lead law enforcement to uncover other seemingly unrelated criminal activities…the fact is that a criminal, who is involved in narco trafficking for example, will almost certainly be involved in money laundering and is likely to be involved in other crimes as such as defrauding customs, and tax evasion,” he argued.

Responding, President of the Jamaica Bankers’ Association, Nigel Holness, said the concerns raised are serious, and assured that at the Associations’ next executive meeting, the matter will be discussed with a view to arriving at ways to address the shortcoming.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bunting said the collaboration between the FID and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA) must straddle all areas of government and the private sector, particularly financial institutions.

The one-day FID conference was aimed at improving communication with critical partners and external customers; educate persons about the law under the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime; promote public awareness and understanding of financial crimes, and the importance of ridding the society of the problem; inform persons about the role and responsibility of the FID; and sensitise stakeholders to the threats of money laundering, and its effects on the economy.

The FID is a division of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, which has been mandated to contribute to national security by providing quality financial investigations that support government of Jamaica strategic priorities.

Minister Bunting stated that the FID is “a crucial resource to the national security infrastructure”.