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FID to become independent government department

Saturday, February 03, 2018

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FINANCE and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw has announced that the Financial Investigations Division (FID), which falls under his ministry, is to become an independent government department.

He said the decision will afford the FID greater autonomy and independence, similar to what is contemplated for the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).

The minister was speaking during Wednesday's opening ceremony for the FID's two-day conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, under the theme 'Taking the Profit out of Crime: What Does it Take?'.

The FID, established in December 2002, is mandated to investigate and heighten public awareness about financial crimes and their impact on society.

Focus is placed on deterring the use of Jamaica's economy for money laundering and other financial crimes, thereby contributing to a stable financial sector and an investor-friendly environment.

Shaw informed that a portion of the civil recovery proceeds obtained by the FID will be allocated to the agency to fund projects aimed at strengthening its capacity and helping it to fulfil its obligations.

He disclosed that the FID currently administers nearly $3.2 billion in restrained and forfeited property and assets.

Shaw also announced that the Government plans to introduce a wide asset-recovery incentive scheme that will be jointly undertaken by his Ministry and the Ministries of National Security, and Justice.

He explained that this system will see some of the proceeds from the sale of forfeited, ill-gotten assets being allocated to effect improvements to key aspects of the justice system, inclusive of law enforcement and the prosecutorial and judicial arms.

“This is intended to encourage those involved in the investigation and prosecution of acquisitive crimes to consider the financial and confiscatory aspects of criminal activity and to take steps, with the involvement of the Financial Investigations Division, to go after the assets as well,” he added.

British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Asif Ahmad, who also spoke at the opening ceremony, underscored the need to stem the extent to which persons are able to acquire funds and other assets illicitly.

“Therefore, we need to strengthen the relevant and then deliver what we have to deliver (in addressing the problem),” he argued.

The two-day conference, hosted by the FID, in collaboration with the United Kingdom Department for International Development, was aimed at building partnerships with key stakeholders across the financial sector.

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