Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Bankers Association urges members to handover financial records

Published:Friday | January 23, 2015 | 1:23 PM

Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Jamaica Bankers Association is encouraging its members to abide by a Privy Council ruling that the Government can access financial reports before a suspect is convicted.

In an email response to our news centre, the Association said it supports the laws of the country and rulings of the court and as such it is urging its members to do the same.

On Monday, the Privy Council ruled that the Court of Appeal was wrong when it found that a customer information order could not be issued before someone is convicted of a crime.

The appeals court had ruled against the state controlled Assets Recovery Agency, which then brought the matter to the Privy Council.

The decision of Jamaica's highest court means the Government can now go to the courts to get banks and other financial institutions to hand over the financial records of their customers who are the subject of an investigation into financial crimes.

The Privy Council ruled that the Government does not have to wait until someone is convicted before it can apply for a customer information order.

The ruling also allows the Government to initiate proceedings to take over the assets of persons suspected of being involved in money laundering or other criminal activities before they are found guilty.

The decision of the Privy Council comes ahead of an impending court battle between the Government and the Jamaican Bar Association.

The bar association has filed an application seeking to challenge amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act which among other things require lawyers and other groups of professionals to hand over information on clients suspected of being involved in financial or other crimes.

The association is opposed to the provision on the grounds that it breaches attorney-client confidentiality.

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