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MOCA head bats for special courts for corruption and financial crimes

Jamaica Gleaner 2018-05-03 13:25:00
Director General of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) Colonel Desmond Edwards - File photo

Director General of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) Colonel Desmond Edwards has called for special courts to deal with corruption and financial crimes to help reduce the backlog of cases currently before the courts.

Edwards made the call while participating in a panel discussion at yesterday's third day of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police 33rd annual conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.

"One of the significant challenges that we have is the backlog in our courts. In order to deal with financial crimes and corruption, you probably need special courts to focus on those kinds of cases and I know that that has to be proposed and debated," he said.

"We [MOCA] currently have 340 cases in the courts. The majority of those cases are related to financial crimes and some 220 of what we have in the courts are linked to lottery scamming," he added.

"Seventy-one of our cases in the courts are linked to police corruption, and there are 15 cases that are linked to public sector corruption,” the MOCA head said, noting that the agency actively partners with other agencies to fulfill its mandate.

Edwards noted that MOCA participates in the rigorous screening of newly-recruited police personnel as part of the vetting process to guard against corruption.

"Our approach is a networked approach that builds on partnerships. We have a very close working relationship with the Office of the Contractor General, and we work closely with the Financial Investigations Division of the Ministry of Finance, and to keep our police personnel honest, we are very involved in the vetting of all new members, including polygraph tests," said Edwards.

Executive Director of National Integrity Action Professor Trevor Munroe, who also participated in the panel discussion, called for the authorities to crack down on corruption at all levels.

"There needs to be more effective and equitable law enforcement, fearless investigation of the corrupt in high places, and we need to go after those facilitators with the same energy as we go after the street criminals," said Munroe.

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