POCA being amended to address illicit cash transactions

Friday, February 22, 2019

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MINISTER of Justice Delroy Chuck says that the Government will be amending the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) this year to address illicit cash transactions.

“The idea here is that other bodies, such as the legal profession and people who engage in jewellery (sales), will have to report cash transactions, because many illicit activities take place with cash,” he noted.

“You have far too many businesses that, by their action, allow criminality and corruption,” he told the ministry's third quarterly press conference held recently at the ministry's headquarters in St Andrew.

Minister Chuck said that pawnbrokers and jewellers often buy stolen items, and related an incident where two professional cameras were stolen and later found for sale at a pawnshop.

He noted that persons who buy stolen goods and fail to act responsibly by checking the origins of the items are accomplices in the criminal act.

Minister Chuck said that the amendments to POCA will also address illegal currency exchange between scammers and business operators.

“We will… make sure that all cash transactions, be it by attorneys, real estate agents, pawnbrokers, jewellers or car dealers, are reported so that we can stem corruption and criminality,” he noted.

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 pending amendments to POCA will also ensure compliance with the recommendations stemming from the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce Mutual Evaluation of Jamaica, done in 2016.

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