The Senate on Friday (June 8) approved the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) Bill, with 77 amendments.
Piloting the Bill, State Minister in the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said “passing the legislation is critical to the national security framework of our country”.
Among the amendments is the appointment of the Agency’s Director General by the Governor-General, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.
It also makes provisions for the extension of the term of appointment of the Director General from three to five years.
The Bill provides for the establishment of MOCA as a statutory law-enforcement agency that will have operational independence and authority.
It will also be dedicated to combatting serious crimes, in collaboration with other local and foreign law-enforcement agencies and strategic partners.
The Agency will have a dedicated and specialised team of investigators that will investigate and prosecute the complex cases that are characteristic of organised criminal networks.
First launched on June 4, 2012 and assuming full operations in September of that same year, MOCA focuses on taking the profit out of crime and aims to target top-level crime figures and their facilitators in a bid to destroy their criminal networks and seize their assets.
In August 2014, MOCA was merged with the JCF’s Anti-Corruption Branch, thereby creating a greater reach and an increased capacity to undertake investigations into persons of interest, including the police and persons occupying public office.
To date, MOCA, with multi-agency support, has conducted 921 operations, 3,467 polygraph examinations, caused over 1,060 arrests, charged 691 persons, secured 151 convictions and seized more than $1.89 billion in assets.
The MOCA Bill was passed in the House of Representatives in January.