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House passes MOCA, JPs Bills

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The House of Representatives today passed the long delayed Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) Bill, as well as two Bills expanding the functions of Justices of the Peaces (JPs).

The MOCA Bill, which was piloted by Minister of National Security, Robert Montague, provides for the establishment of a statutory law enforcement agency to be known as MOCA, which will have operational independence and authority and be dedicated to combating serious crime, in collaboration with other local and foreign law enforcement agencies and strategic partners.

The agency will have a dedicated, specialised team of investigators, and it will investigate and prosecute complex cases mainly involving organised criminal networks.

Head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) Terrence Williams had previously insisted that his commission should have powers to probe cases involving MOCA.

However, the MOCA Bill includes an executive committee to exclusively investigate complaints made against personnel assigned to the elite investigative body outside of the jurisdiction of INDECOM.

The Justice of the Peace Bill, piloted by Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, includes provisions, in the the Justices of the Peace Act, 2017, for increasing maximum fines that can be imposed by Justices of the Peace (JPs) from $2,000 to $50,000.

The provisions also increase the terms of imprisonment which can be imposed by the JPs, and widen their jurisdiction outside a single parish.

The amendments are among decisions taken to incorporate the provisions of the Justices of the Peace (Official Seals) Act in the same legislation, and repeal that Act, so as to provide for a consolidated regime with respect to the administrative affairs of the office of Justice of the Peace.

The other Bill is the Court of Petty Sessions (Miscellaneous) Act 2017, which will effect the name change of the petty session courts.

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