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Senate passes anti-ponzi scheme bill

Published: Friday December 13, 2013 | 6:29 pm Comments 0

The Senate this afternoon approved a legislation that will clampdown on ponzi schemes and unauthorised dealing in securities in Jamaica.

The Securities (Amendment) Act, 2013 was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The act proposes fines or imprisonment for up to 10 years for persons convicted of operating illegal investment schemes.

Investment clubs with a maximum of 20 members will be exempt from established registration requirements.

Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding who piloted the bill reiterated that the legislation is important in addressing weaknesses in the local financial sector.

He said further changes could be made following the completion of ongoing consultations with stakeholders in the securities industry.

Meanwhile, Opposition Senator, Marlene Malahoo-Forte had suggested an amendment to remove trial by jury.

Malahoo-Forte said the jury trials would only add more burden to the justice system and that documents would establish the facts to be argued in the case.

However, Leader of the Government Business A.J. Nicholson and other government senators argued against the recommendation, noting that it would be better for ordinary Jamaicans to decide the cases.

Government member Sandrea Falconer while accepting the point raised by her Opposition counterpart, said she had to vote against the proposed amendments in order for the bill to be passed.

The bill had to be passed in Parliament before December 31 based on Jamaica’s programme with the International Monetary Fund.

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