Updated: 07/10/2014 00:19

Singapore to be better placed to combat transnational crime

Singapore to be better placed to combat transnational crime

Singapore is better positioned to combat transnational crime after Parliament passed amendments to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act or Macma today. 

Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah told the House that presently, Singapore can only enforce a foreign confiscation order for drug or serious offences such as money-laundering. 

Others such as causing death by a rash or negligent act are not included. 

With the changes, this will now apply to all serious offences. 

A "catch-all" provision has been introduced whereby mutual legal assistance will be available for all Singapore offences carrying a maximum jail sentence of at least four years. 

Another key change involves the requirement for dual criminality. 

Under this requirement, requests for mutual legal assistance will be refused if the person is being investigated, prosecuted or punished for an act that's not considered an offence inn Singpapore. 

This requirement has now been caliberated. 

It will be dropped for non-coercive types of assistance. 

For example, this means Singapore can arrange for a person to assist or give evidence in a foreign criminal matter if he has consented to do so. 

It will also be dropped in tax-evasion cases, regardless of the type of tax being evaded, when certain types of coercive assistance are requested, if the conditions are met.

"These changes demonstrate Singapore's commitment towards combating cross-border financial crimes and address any misperception that Singapore is a shelter for tax-illicit monies."

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