Persons convicted of money-laundering could be fined as much as $50 million and be jailed for 30 years, under a bill piloted in the House of Representatives yesterday by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. This is the Miscellaneous Provisions (Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Proceeds of Crime, Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago, Customs and Exchange Control) Bill, 2017.
While the Proceeds of Crime Act 2000 penalised the offence by a $25 million fine and 15 years imprisonment (indictable/High Court) and $5 million fine and five years imprisonment (summary/Magistrates Court), penalties under the new bill are respectively $50 million and 15 years, and $25 million and 15 years. However, Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh warned that the bill deeply affects people’s constitutional rights to their property and so should ideally be passed by a special majority of cross-floor support.
He urged the bill be sent to a JSC.
In a five-minute break, Acting House Leader Stuart Young conferred with Opposition chief whip David Lee.
Upon resumption, Young got the House’s nod to adjourn debate on this bill, but did not say if the bill will go to a JSC.
The bill also lets the FIU craft its own registration form and disseminate financial intelligence to local and overseas agencies on its own motion.