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Munroe: Free up MOCA to nab top criminals

Published:Thursday | March 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

Professor Trevor Munroe is optimistic that the bill, scheduled to be tabled today in the Senate, establishing the Major Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Agency (MOCA) as a an autonomous entity independent of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will lay the groundwork for nabbing and prosecuting the brains behind many white collar crimes - facilitators who often escape even when their low-level cronies are arrested.

Munroe, the executive director of National Integrity Action, pointed to the interception of 119 guns and ammunition destined for shipment to Montego Bay, Jamaica's tourism Mecca, by United States of America (USA) law-enforcement agents last December as an example of the need for a reconstituted MOCA modelled after the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the USA.


Information leak


The follow-up transnational investigation was compromised after an information leak, which local investigators believed alerted the organisers of the crime, resulting in no one being charged and convicted.

"The leak meant that the top-end people got away. We should begin to see more of the white collar facilitators - the real-estate dealers, the attorneys - getting caught," Munroe said during a Gleaner Editors' Forum yesterday.

"We should begin to see some punishments being meted out, following robust investigations, competent prosecutions and judges who begin to understand and utilise the sentencing guidelines which are now out."

Even as he welcomed the tabling of today's bill, Munroe lamented that it was late in coming, given that the groundwork had been laid under Ministry Paper Number 63 of the National Security Policy, which was tabled in Parliament in April 2014.