NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young was not surprised by United National Congress (UNC) activist Devant Maharaj’s efforts to brand the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill 2019 as draconian. Asked at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s whether he was surprised by Maharaj’s claims, Young replied, “Absolutely not.”
Young charged: “Anyone who says they don’t want to have to explain where their wealth has come from, immediately, in my humble opinion and my view, has something to hide.”
Promising a very robust debate on the bill in the House of Representatives today, Young declared, “This particular piece of legislation goes directly to the heart of the eradication of corruption and the reduction of corruption.”
He added that the legislation would benefit TT.
The objective of the bill is to create a civil asset recovery and management agency for the recovery of criminal property through restriction in dealings with civil assets restriction, forfeiture of criminal property and the management of criminal property.
The members of this agency will be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. Where they cannot agree, the President will make the appointments after consultation with the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.
Young said Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi had spoken extensively about the legislation.
On outstanding matters of alleged corruption, Young said it was the responsibility of the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to bring criminal charges, and Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has promised to devote resources to combating white-collar crime.
In a post on Facebook, Maharaj said the legislation was “insidious” and required a constitutional majority for passage. Maharaj claimed the bill would permit the lowest-ranked police or customs officer to force people to spend money to justify their possessions based only on “a mere suspicion.”
This story was originally published with the title "Young: UNC fears disclosure" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.
NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young is not surprised that the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) is trying to condemn civil asset forfeiture legislation before it is debated in the House of Representatives.
At the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre on Thursday, Young noted allegations being circulated on social media by UNC activist Devant Maharaj. In a post on Facebook, Maharaj claimed the legislation was "insidious." He further alleged the bill required a constitutional majority for passage. Maharaj claimed the bill would permit the lowest ranked police or customs officer to force citizens to spend money to justify their possessions based only on "a mere suspicion."
Underscoring that the legislation was a major weapon in Government's anti-corruption arsenal, Young promised the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill would be debated robustly in the House on Friday.
He said anyone who was unable to explain their wealth "has something to hide."
Young reiterated that charging and convicting people in relation to corruption lay within the remit of the Police Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions.