Fri | Apr 28, 2017

Opposition against MOCA not reporting to commissioner

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 5:00 AM

Despite Cabinet having issued drafting instructions for legislation to establish the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as a statutory body independent of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the parliamentary opposition has served notice that it will not support the move to create a policing entity that does not report to the commissioner of police.

"While MOCA currently operates as a joint staff agency with JCF members and civilian staffers, Cabinet now wants it to become a statutory body, independent of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, which means that MOCA will not fall under the commissioner of police," noted Derrick Smith, the opposition spokesman on national security, on Tuesday. "This is something that the Opposition cannot and will not support."

 

Serious concern

 

Smith, while making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate, said: "The Opposition totally rejects that MOCA should report to a political entity instead of the commissioner of police."

He added: "I have a serious concern about such a powerful policing agency not being under the command of the commissioner. Who then will be in charge? The minister? We are not talking about a regulatory agency. We are talking an investigative agency with police powers and civilian employees and, therefore, it should remain under the command of the commissioner of police."

When he contributed to the Sectoral Debate last week, National Security Minister Peter Bunting said MOCA was created last August as an interim step in a longer-term plan to create a national law enforcement agency.

"MOCA is the vanguard agency for detection and investigation of criminal kingpins, corrupt public officials, and professionals who facilitate money laundering," Bunting had said.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com