MOCA targets 2016 for statutory body status
THE MAJOR Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) is pushing to transition into a statutory body by mid-2016.
Director general of the MOCA Colonel Desmond Edwards said the change to a statutory body is dependent on the pace of the legislative process.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting, last week, said Cabinet had issued drafting instructions for legislation to establish MOCA as a statutory body independent of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
At present, MOCA operates as a joint staff agency with members from the police force as well as civilians.
And when the agency is established as a statutory body, it is expected that the status of JCF personnel working with MOCA will be changed.
However, Edwards pointed out that some members of MOCA would always require powers of arrest, while others who are not employed in operational roles would not need those powers to perform their jobs.
Commenting on the rationale for moving towards independent status, Edwards said this would provide Jamaica with a national law-enforcement organisation dedicated to providing strategic operational responses to Tier One threats to the country's national security such as major organised crime, economic and financial crimes, and corruption.
Our vision is to become an internationally recognised, leading law-enforcement agency focused on eliminating major organised crime and corruption in Jamaica.
Bunting reported that between January 2014 and March 2015, MOCA conducted 347 operations, arresting 688 persons, including 64 members of the JCF. Of the 688 persons arrested, 411 were charged, including 46 police personnel, 26 public sector employees, 313 scammers charged under the Law Reform Fraudulent Transactions Special Provision Act, and 26 civilians. A total of twenty-nine persons prosecuted by MOCA were convicted during this period.
The MOCA and the Financial Investigation Division are jointly pursuing civil forfeiture proceedings related to assets obtained illicitly that are valued at more than $1 billion.