The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Financial Investigations Division (FID) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at strengthening both organisations’ response to, among other things, money laundering, organised crime, fraud and financial crime. The MoU was signed by the Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson and the FID’s Chief Technical Director Selvin Hay and during an event staged at the Office of the Commissioner of Police.
Under this MoU the FID will provide full and frank disclosure of information, forensic assistance as well as legal assistance and advice to the JCF with respect to financial crime investigations; the identification, restraint and forfeiture of the proceeds of crime; and any other related matter under the relevant statutes. The JCF’s recruit training syllabus will be expanded to include, among others areas, Financial Investigations and the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Both organisations will intensify the provision of essential training to each other including, but not limited to, specialized training, cyber-forensic expertise and public sensitization efforts. There will be collaboration on the development of specialized procedures to deal with special and/or sensitive matters including terrorist and/or terrorism financing matters.
The parties will work together in the compilation of statistics relating to investigations and prosecutions relating to financial crimes including arrests, convictions, seized and forfeited cash, court orders obtained and details of forfeiture and pecuniary penalty orders.
The Constabulary Financial Unit (CFU) is housed at the FID’s offices and this MoU will enhance the collaboration between Forensic Examiners and Investigators while adding extra layers of security to the FID’s operations. It is anticipated that there will be an increase in the use of financial investigation by the JCF particularly in cases of Trafficking in Narcotics and Arms, Corruption, Extortion and similar crimes.
The role of financial investigation is intended to achieve certain objectives:
- Removing the benefit (profit) from crime through asset forfeiture,
- Targeting facilitators who through their services allow criminals to retain the proceeds of their crime,
- Protecting the integrity of the financial system against abuse by criminals
FID’s Chief Technical Director Selvin Hay said, “POCA is a powerful piece of legislation and should be readily used by all law enforcement agencies. When applied more robustly, it could signal the death knell of criminal organisations and individuals. A key lesson for us all in law enforcement is to emphasise the removal of profit from crime.”
Hay added, “This MoU solidifies the excellent working relationship which has always existed between the JCF and the FID. It is mutually beneficial and formalises our collaboration as we strive to tackle the scourge of organised crime, fraud and corruption, thereby depriving criminals of benefitting from their ill-gotten gains.
“Having identified the risks to which Jamaica is exposed as a result of financial crimes, the country must strengthen and implement anti-money laundering (AML) measures that mitigate these risks. This MoU is another important step in achieving this objective.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson noted, “The JCF has an unwavering commitment to tackling organized crime and criminal gangs. This MOU signals a strengthening partnership between the JCF and the FID to prosecute money launderers and seize the assets they have obtained from criminal activities. Money laundering and proceeds of crime are critical to the functioning of criminal organizations as it allows them to leverage their financial resources to corrupt officials, purchase weapons, finance gangs and other criminal activities.
This collaboration is important and will facilitate the working relationship necessary to secure the best results. We will continue to expand our investigative capacity to apply the proceeds of crime and money laundering legislation. We will ensure that our officers have the requisite training, experience and powers to investigate financial crimes and associated predicate offences, as well as to successfully forfeit the proceeds and profits of crime. “