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Caribbean agency to track crime proceeds
By July, Caricom Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) will have the capacity to hunt down regional criminals who profit in the proceeds of crimes.
IMPACS will zero in on criminals by confiscating their assets to prevent the fuelling of further crimes.
The assurance was given yesterday by Giselle Martin, legal advisory to Caricom IMPACS, as she addressed the media at the launch of the Caribbean Fraud Conference at Normandie Hotel, St Ann’s.
Martin, Gillian Ash-Henry director of Global Forensic Institute, Kathleen Charles-Jackson Ethics and Compliance Manager of bptt, Jennifer Koo Rogers, chair of Inter-Bank Anti Fraud Committee of Bankers Association of T&T and Jerome Chambers Director of Global Forensic Institute spoke on the issue of financial risk, anti-money laundering, occupational fraud, human trafficking and FATCA.
These are just some of the topics that will be discussed in detail by a battery of speakers, including Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi at the fraud conference carded for June 5 and 6 at the Radisson Hotel, Port -of-Spain.
Established in 2006, Martin said IMPACS was formed to address issues of crime and security in the region.
In 2013, Martin said there was a Caricom crime and security strategy which was adopted by Heads of Conference.
She said one of the goals of implementing that strategy was taking the profits out of crime.
“The proceeds of crime is what was fuelling and putting money back into the hands off the criminals to continue to perpetrate crime. IMPACS embarked upon a number of initiatives and partnerships towards taking the profits out of crime,” Martin said.
Just recently, she said, IMPACS partnered with the United Nations office on drugs and crime “and drafted within the region an agreement for the return and sharing of criminals assets.”
Martin said the collaboration was to ensure that crime and crime cases are solved.
“But is has sweetened the deal to enhance collaboration among members states which is really the spirit of Caricom and would really allow us to share in the proceeds of those recovered assets and use those recovered assets to filter back into crime solving.”
Martin said this agreement should have been signed by the Heads of Conference at their intersessional meeting last month.
“But unfortunately there are just a few hitches to be worked out and we are hoping that it is going to be signed in July at the Conference of Heads meeting in Grenada.”
She said that IMPACS has been working on assets recovery with a number of partners for members states in the area of asset tracing, asset management and prosecuting assets forfeiture cases.
“We are even pitching our capacity building at the level of the judiciary, the prosecutors and detectives all those parties in members states who are involved in the area of asset recovery.”
Another area IMPACS has been focusing on was developing a cybercrime plan and strategy.
Charles- Jackson said the conference will increase awareness of anti money laundering risks and its consequences, as well as the penalties in not having good compliance processes in place.
Rogers who is regional senior manager for investigations and loss prevention at Scotiabank said every month local banks meet to discuss fraud trends and come up with ways in which these risks can be mitigated.