SOCU more reactive than proactive, says Advisor


Financial crimes must be reported to Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) if they are to be proactively investigated says Dr Sam Sittlington.

Due to the lack of reporting of these crimes, the Financial Investigations Advisor observed that SOCU is more reactive than proactive in its investigative methods, a release from the Department of Public Information has said.

Dr Sam Sittlington

“There are two ways of doing an investigation. One is reacting to something happening and the other is proactive. SOCU are reactive. They are generally reacting to something whether it be intelligence obtained from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) or someone else or somebody stopped in a car with a lot of drugs. So, they react to that, then conduct their investigations”, Dr Sittlington explained.

He further explained that while SOCU’s primary role is to investigate money laundering, inexperience places additional burdens on the agency’s resources.

“Money laundering is subsequent to a criminal act that may be corruption, that may be tax evasion, it may be fraud it may be drug trafficking and that particular crime generally is committed before a money laundering offence is committed. SOCU’s role is to investigate the money laundering aspect of those cases but because of the lack of experience in this area they seem to do everything. That puts more pressure on them and makes these types of cases more challenging” said Dr Sittlington.

According to the DPI, “the Financial Investigations Advisor was at the time responding to criticisms which suggest SOCU is failing to investigate glaring cases of financial crimes evidenced by the proliferation of mostly young, uneducated owners of billions of dollars in assets.”

Tuesday last, British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn held a media briefing at his residence to reintroduce Dr Sittlington as Financial Investigations Mentor/Advisor to SOCU.

Dr Sittlington’s advisory role to the agency began in 2015 and this new stint will last until 2020, said the DPI.