Minister Boasman: “Asset Recovery Team operates within confines of existing law”

GREAT BAY – “People who do not engage in crime have nothing to fear from the Asset Recovery Team.” With that statement Justice Minister Rafael Boasman sought to ease the concerns members of parliament expressed in earlier meetings of parliament about this initiative – the cooperation between members of the police force, the coast guard, the customs department and the tax administration in the fight against money-based crime.
The meeting did not proceed beyond the answers Minister Boasman provided to questions MPs had posed in an earlier meeting, because MP Drs. Rodolphe Samuel proposed an adjournment to give absents MPs the opportunity to seek clarification on some of the answers.
The meeting had a quorum of just 8 out of 15 members; among them was MP Claret Connor, who did not provide an explanation for his departure from the morning session (see related story on page 1). The meeting about ‘recent developments at the ministry of justice’ (with a focus on the establishment of the Asset Recovery Team) was requested by MPs Franklin Meyers, Frans Richardson, Perry Geerlings and Rodolphe Samuel. Meyers, Richardson and Geerlings were absent in yesterday’s meeting.
Minister Boasman emphasized over and over again that the Asset Recovery Team does not have special powers and that its members operate strictly within the confines of existing legislation. The attorney-general issued guidelines about the way the team operates and the minister provided a copy of these guidelines to the members of parliament.
While the salaries of team members are covered from the proceeds of their activities, they do not receive additional payment above their regular salaries, the minister said in answer to a question from MP Samuel.
In general, the minister said, the team ought to earn back every dollar invested in this approach around 3.5 times.
The minister noted that the team members do not have additional powers and that they operate within the rules and regulations of the organization they belong to – police, coast guard, customs department or tax administration.
“The key is that they are working together,” the minister said. “Their strength is the exchange of information and the use of their skills.”
The meeting will continue at a later date.

Source: TODAY