Mauritius is poised to set up a Serious Fraud Office to crackdown on financial crime in all its forms, according to a statement by Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam.

While replying to a Private Notice Question (PNQ) in the National Assembly this week, Ramgoolam said that it was his firm conviction that the institutional framework for the investigation of corruption and money laundering offences and financial crime in general needs to be strengthened.

He also cautioned against the increasingly sophisticated means being used by criminals and the international ramifications of financial crime.

Paul Bérenger, leader of the opposition, addressed the query to the Prime Minister, which was centred on the Declaration of Assets Act and reinforcing the anti-corruption framework.

In his reply, the Prime Minister stated that certain complex legal issues have been raised with regard to some provisions of these two Bills and consultations are still ongoing between his office and the Attorney General’s office to set up a Serious Fraud Office.

Ramgoolam also pointed out that the Parliamentary Committee on the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) has already made proposals for further legislative reforms, pursuant to Section 61 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In the meantime, the government continues its relentless fight against corruption, stressed Ramgoolam.

He added that a number of measures have been initiated to reinforce a culture of integrity and probity in public institutions, enumerating the various measures that are being implemented to promote transparency.

Ramgoolam pointed out that in line with the government programme from 2012-2015, Mauritius has been extending full support to ICAC in the implementation of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Framework.

The framework aims at accelerating the dissemination and integration of a corruption prevention culture across the public service.

He went on to underline that the Committee has also submitted a draft Declaration of Assets Bill to replace the existing one.

“’The Declaration of Assets should be viewed as one of the mechanisms, alongside the various anti-corruption measures, to foster a culture of integrity and ethical conduct in public life as well as in the society in general,” Ramgoolam observed.

Image: Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam stated that consultations are still ongoing between his office and the Attorney General’s office to set up a Serious Fraud Office.

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