The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, July 9, approved amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), which will provide for the forfeiture of the assets of persons found to have accumulated wealth through criminal means.
This was done through the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment of Second Schedule to the Act) Order, 2013, Resolution.
Certain offences under the Cyber Crimes Act, the Larceny Act, the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, the Trafficking in Persons Act and the Corruption Prevention Act will now come under the reach of the POCA.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, explained that currently, the Act does not capture certain modern offences, which if included, will substantially take the profits out of criminal activity and “ensure that those who are committed to a criminal lifestyle and who have demonstrated this before the courts, will not be able to benefit from the illicit proceeds”.
He explained that in order to address this, the Ministry moved to amend Schedule 2 of the legislation, to significantly aid in the strengthening of law enforcement and the administration of justice in Jamaica.
Leader of Opposition Business in the Lower House, Delroy Chuck, noted that the amendments will make the legislation “a more powerful Act”.
“The real challenge is how do we enforce and effect this piece of legislation, which would send the right signal to those who are befitting from crime, because the familiar dictum that crime doesn’t pay is not necessarily true in Jamaica and a good example is the lotto scam,” Mr. Chuck said.
In his response Mr. Bunting said he is “anxious to get some of these POCA cases before the courts particularly to frustrate the efforts of organised criminals.”
The Resolution will now be sent to the Senate for its approval.
Contact: Latonya Linton