Logo of ICAC, Mauritius

ICAC Mauritius

Map of MauritiusSeven months ago I said goodbye to my job in the Mainland and International Liaison Section of the Hong Kong ICAC to join the ICAC in Mauritius.

In January 2003, Hong Kong hosted the ICAC - Interpol Conference and Mr Navin Beekarry, Commissioner of ICAC Mauritius, was one of the delegates. Over a cup of tea during one of the breakout sessions Mr Beekarry, aware that I was shortly to retire, asked if I would like to assist with the setting up of their investigation division and the rest, as they say, is history.

Having been accustomed to Hong Kong's Prevention of Bribery Ordinance I had to, pretty quickly, get to grips with Mauritius' Prevention of Corruption Act 2002 and the Financial Intelligence & Anti Money Laundering Act 2002. I also had to get used to the meaning of the word "Commission" as, in Mauritius, that term refers to the Commissioner and his 2 Deputy Commissioners whereas, in Hong Kong, the Commission was a word used to describe the ICAC as a whole.

All my working life has been spent in law enforcement and I found it most unusual that the Prevention of Corruption Act did not give Mauritius ICAC officers power of arrest. That power is vested in those Mauritius Police officers seconded to the ICAC. Another unusual characteristic is that, after a complaint is initially classified by the Commission as pursuable, and the investigation commenced, should there subsequently be found to be no evidence of corruption but evidence of a criminal offence having been committed, the investigation would be referred to the Commissioner of Police.

During my first two months, there were a couple of well publicised internal difficulties that were quickly and appropriately addressed by the Commission which allowed the investigators to get on with the job of investigating corruption complaints. Since the start of 2004, there have been 23 investigation files sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions recommending prosecution for corruption offences. Another significant statistic is that in the first 4 months of this year, in respect of the 246 reports received, 50% of the complainants have identified themselves.

In April 2004, the Commission and officers from the Corruption Prevention and Education Division were instrumental in securing funding from the United Nations Development Programme for a national survey on corruption in Mauritius. The findings make interesting reading and I hope that a summary will be prepared for publication in a future issue of the Newsletter.

 


Jim Neilson
Consultant
ICAC Mauritius