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New FCC Act: Agencies Dissolved, Employees Uncertain



New FCC Act: Agencies Dissolved, Employees Uncertain
Image source: l'Express

The Financial Crimes Commission Act (FCC Act) was enacted on March 29th. Since April 1st, entities that were central in the fight against financial crimes, such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU), and the Integrity Reporting Services Agency (IRSA), have been dissolved to merge into the FCC.

This change has sparked deep concerns among former employees of the dissolved agencies.

Investigators who are unclear about the modus operandi of the new entity are expressing concerns about the continuity and effectiveness of ongoing investigations, fearing that structural and prioritization changes may hinder their progress.

Police officers assigned to these departments are given a deadline to wrap up their cases and may be transferred to other departments.

In this context, the ICAC’s investigation department remains within the new entity.

However, this decision raises significant questions about the management of numerous pending cases and the continuity of previous ICAC investigations.

Employees are particularly alarmed by clause 167 of the law, which states that their employment contracts will be terminated with compensation according to labor laws if they do not wish to be transferred to the new commission.

During this transition period, police officers who were handling investigations within the former agencies will now have to finalize their investigations on time.

One official explains that this situation creates immense job insecurity and fear of political purging.

“We could witness a purge and see anyone who does not blindly follow the direction disappear. It is concerning because there is no guarantee that we will keep our positions. We could be transferred to another department,” he said.

The fear is that this restructuring may not only serve the interests of fighting corruption but also political agendas.

There is also uncertainty about how ongoing investigations, some spanning several years, will be managed.

Investigators highlight the practical difficulties presented by the new organization.

For example, the removal of the requirement to consult the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office to proceed with cases, replaced with centralized decision-making power in the hands of the FCC director.

“Even if the FCC takes on all existing cases, it will be complicated because the way these cases are handled will now be different,” they explained.

Additionally, the ICAC’s premises have been transformed into the FCC’s headquarters.

However, the fate of IRSA and ARU employees also remains uncertain, raising their concerns.

They express confusion as they do not know where they will now have to work and how.

Should they go to Réduit, where the FCC headquarters are now located, or should they stay at their current location?

In theory, consolidating resources and expertise could lead to more coordinated action against financial crime.

However, if current employee and external observer concerns materialize, the FCC could face legitimacy and effectiveness issues right from the start.

The transition to the FCC is viewed with skepticism, not only by employees of the agencies involved but also by legal experts who see potential for decreased transparency and increased political control over sensitive issues.

Source: l’Express

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