A Bill to prosecute persons involved in the illegal lottery scam was passed by the House of Representatives on March 26, paving the way for it to be signed into law by the Governor-General.
The Lower House approved the 14 amendments to the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act that were made by the Senate on March 21.
In his comments, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, said the Government will prosecute persons under the Act, as soon as possible.
“Regarding the early prosecution, that certainly is our intention and that’s why we are moving this Bill through all its stages urgently, so that it will come into law and the police will have this tool,” the Minister said.
[RELATED: Lottery Scammers Could Be Extradited – Minister Bunting]
He was replying to remarks made by Leader of Opposition Business in the House, Delroy Chuck, who called for early prosecution of persons, “because merely enacting legislation is not enough.”
Mr. Chuck also noted that persons committing an offence under the Act should be extradited.
“Most of the victims are abroad and because they are abroad, it is easier for them to give evidence than to use video or to bring them here to Jamaica. Until we have some successful prosecution of these scammers, we are going to have this illegal destructive operation continuing,” he added.
In his response, Mr. Bunting said once an extradition request is received and “once it is compliant and lawful, it will be dealt with as provided for in our extradition Act and the various treaties that cover the subject.”
The Bill addresses, among other things: obtaining any property or inducing any person to confer any benefit on any person by false pretence; inviting or otherwise inducing a person to visit Jamaica for the purpose of committing an offence under the Act; and knowingly conducting a financial transaction with the proceeds of an offence.
It also makes provision for powers of search and seizure and restitution, and for guilty persons to be fined and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for up to 25 years.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter