(Trinidad Guardian) Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says in the coming months he will be forming a division to tackle white collar crime.
Speaking yesterday at a seminar at the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus, hosted by the Department of Political Science and titled ‘Engendering Trust in the Police Service’, the commissioner was asked by moderator, Shane Mohammed, what is being done about the so- called ‘big fish’ in the country.
Griffith said with respect to the ‘big fish’ involved in serious crime, they feel they are their own bosses.
“They feel they are thugs and they can do what they want, but I can tell some of them, every day is not Sunday and we will deal with them one by one,” Griffith said to a half filled auditorium.
However, the commissioner said there is another type of ‘big fish’, those involved in white-collar crime.
“Many times people measure the state of a country and security by the state of serious crime, but one homicide or three hundred homicides cannot be as dangerous to a country as 25 billion being stolen.”
The commissioner said there will be a massive turnaround in the coming months as the police service focusses on white collar-crime. He suggested that it will be an amalgamation of existing units.
“We have the FIB, we have the ACIB, we have the Cyber Crime Unit, we have the Fraud Squad and all of them are separate, I intend to form a Financial Intelligence Division, and all of these things that have been outstanding for years, I will put an end to it.”
Griffith said this will not be a witch hunt but he says a precedent must be set to let law breakers know that they cannot continue to siphon money out of a country.
He says forfeiture of ill gotten gains will provide much needed funds for the country..
He said currently there is a system where certain people have enormous wealth and cannot account for it.
Griffith said there is already existing legislation that can help but, he said, Civil Asset Forfeiture Legislation can help. He said it’s something he drafted when he served as Minister of National Security.
Demonstrating how it will work by using one of the moderators as an example, Griffith said, “So, Shane you have a fancy shoes but you’re making 200 dollars a month, how did you buy it? If you cannot account for it, then we take it from you.”