Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Mulling MOCA

Published:Sunday | September 7, 2014 | 9:00 AM
Minister of National Security Peter Bunting (left) with Colonel Desmond Edwards, head of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force.

Collin Greenland, Guest Columnist

This writer concurs with The Gleaner's August 6 editorial, which stated that it would have preferred a new specialised law-enforcement agency created, instead of merging existing agencies to form the new Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA), and we both give the authorities kudos for the intent.

Some tips are humbly submitted here to Colonel Edwards and the authorities, and hopefully, these were already contemplated, and where they were not, serious consideration will be given in the national interest:

1. Corruption/white-collar crime risk assessment

In crafting a strategic plan going forward, MOCA would benefit greatly from first conducting appropriate risk assessment of corruption and other types of white-collar crimes that typify today's modern organised perpetrators who are technologically savvy, resource wealthy and inextricably linked to politicians, law-enforcement personnel, professionals and business persons who straddle the corridors of corruption to satisfy their various nefarious intentions.

In conducting this corruption/white-collar crime risk assessment, MOCA should ensure that the crimes to be assessed are identified, with the more likely schemes and scenarios prioritised, using cutting-edge risk methodologies that consider the national significance of the crimes within advanced criteria such as likelihood of occurrence (almost certain, likely, possible, unlikely, and rare); and simultaneously considered in terms of their national magnitude of impact (insignificant, minor, moderate, major and catastrophic).

2. Utilising
established int'l best practices

MOCA should also not
try to invent the wheel and not be afraid to replicate successful crime
fighting methodologies/strategies employed worldwide, in order to
shorten the learning curve and ensure that our limited resources are
deployed in the most cost-effective
manner.

Established practices utilised by the FBI, for
example, are conceptually applicable to our situations, and any
cultural or indigenous idiosyncrasies can be incorporated appropriately
to match the Jamaican scenario.

For example, the
traditional Seven Steps of Criminal Investigation is a process commonly
taught and applied in the United States by federal, state, and local
law-enforcement authorities, and although many variations exist, the
main components of the first four Phases, 13 Actions, and five Stages,
can be applied or enhanced on our
shores.

3. Use of
forensics

To better assist MOCA and other
law-enforcement 'clients', Dr Mowatt, the forensic lab's head, will have
to bolster her stock of equipment with others, such as
infrared/ultraviolet/electronic examination equipment, which may include
specifics such as electrostatic detection apparatus, projectina,
spectral comparator, and suitable forensic softwares (EnCase, SafeBack,
DIBS, etc.).

4. Psychometric Staff
Recruitment/Deployment

The nature and extent of the
cases expected to be tackled by MOCA will require the personnel of the
highest calibre of not only skills and proficiencies, but more
important, impeccable moral and ethical underpinnings, best screened by
the use of psychological/psychometric methodologies in their
recruitment, and/or secondment or otherwise deployed
investigators.

5. Adequate staff
compensation

Admittedly, no organisation, public or
private, no matter how meticulous the recruitment process, can
compensate persons enough to ensure that every employee cannot be
affected by bribery. However, MOCA's elite personnel should be
considered for compensation scales that exceed the existing government
scales, in order to lessen the temptation to yield to the attractive
bribes that may emanate from wealthy
suspects.

Whatever mechanisms are needed to make this a
reality, they must be fast-tracked. Innovative, 'out of the box'
thinking must be applied here in providing these resources, for example,
using the approximately $119 million in cash and $146 million in assets
that have been forfeited to the State, as reported by the FID in April
of this year.

6. Ongoing training
and development

Countering today's organised criminals
and technologically savvy white-collar crime suspects require ongoing
training and development by law-enforcement personnel worldwide, just to
catch up, much less keeping ahead of the persons they investigate. MOCA
personnel must be afforded these facilities on an ongoing basis,
although unfortunately, most exist abroad.

Conferences, seminars, and other training/development
conducted by organisations such as the Association of Certified Fraud
Examiners, Institute of Internal Auditors, The Association of Certified
Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, The American College of Forensic
Examiners Institute, and The International Association of Financial
Crimes Investigators should be regularly and routinely accessed by MOCA
personnel to ensure that the methods used are maintained at cutting-edge
levels.

It is hoped that these six suggestions, if
not already on the drawing board, will be seriously considered so that
MOCA does not become a bureaucratically constrained, resource-starved
and ineffective agency that waste taxpayer's hard-earned money, while
organised crime continue to flourish.

Collin
Greenland is a forensic accountant. Email feedback to
columns@gleanerjm.com and cgreeny.collin@gmail.com