JIS News

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  • The Government is conducting a review of the Proceeds of Crime Act, which should serve to resolve issues relating to the sale of seized property as well as to strengthen enforcement through a system of financial penalties.
  • The review of the Act should also allow for financial transactions considered low-risk to attract reduced due-diligence measures, resulting in lower compliance costs.
  • “We have to make sure we can take the appropriate freezing action in the unfortunate event that assets owned by terrorists are located in our financial sector. We are considering whether coordination mechanisms between the law-enforcement agencies involved in this critical area should be enshrined in law,” PM Holness said.

The Government is conducting a review of the Proceeds of Crime Act, which should serve to resolve issues relating to the sale of seized property as well as to strengthen enforcement through a system of financial penalties.

This is according to Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who was giving the keynote address at an Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, yesterday (October 10).

He said the review of the Act should also allow for financial transactions considered low-risk to attract reduced due-diligence measures, resulting in lower compliance costs.

This will enable easier and speedier processing of these transactions.

Mr. Holness said enforcement will be treated as a top priority, and financial institutions which are in breach and which aid money launderers will be “brought to book”.

“I urge regulators and enforcement agencies to take a zero-tolerance approach. The reputational risks to our financial system are too high for regulatory forbearance in this area,” he said.

The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) was passed by Parliament in 2007 to replace the Money Laundering Act (MLA) and provides for the investigation, identification and recovery of the proceeds of crime and connected matters.

The Prime Minister further noted that the Terrorism Prevention Act is also being reviewed.

“We have to make sure we can take the appropriate freezing action in the unfortunate event that assets owned by terrorists are located in our financial sector. We are considering whether coordination mechanisms between the law-enforcement agencies involved in this critical area should be enshrined in law,” he said.

Mr. Holness said the issue of the ultimate beneficial ownership of corporate bodies and the ultimate beneficiaries under trust instruments will also be addressed by the International Trust and Corporate Services Providers Bill.

The Bill, tabled in the Houses of Representatives in August, seeks to regulate the providers of international corporate services and international trust services by ensuring that they are licensed by the Financial Services Commission.

“These and other amendments and enactments will be critical to our objective of moving Jamaica towards our goal of offering premium international financial services to global investors,” the Prime Minister said.