Cleaning up on dirty money

dirty moneyThe Commission for Mission (CFM) is encouraging support for the ‘Stop Australia being a Haven for Dirty Money’ postcard campaign. The campaign calls on the Australian Government to combat stolen money coming into Australia, in particular from developing countries.

The CFM has conducted an investigation into prominent businessmen and politicians from Papua New Guinea who have been convicted or charged with stealing money from the PNG Government.

The investigation found tens of millions of dollars “of potentially stolen money” has been transferred into Australia from PNG.

In late June The Age revealed further evidence relating to allegations of Australian lawyers assisting to pay bribes to PNG authorities and funnelling money into Australia.

There is also evidence that stolen money has been transferred to Australia from China and Malaysia.

In May the federal government announced the development of a national scheme on unexplained wealth. Unexplained wealth laws will target ‘big fish’ criminals by forcing them to prove large amounts of wealth come from legitimate sources. The wealth can be seized if no proof is provided.

A national scheme will allow the federal, state and territory governments to combine investigative tools, intelligence and resources to better target serious criminals.

Justice and International Mission unit director Dr Mark Zirnsak said the initiative could include people from developing countries who have shifted stolen money into Australia.

“Media attention and people sending postcards and letters have seen the Federal Government starting to move in a number of areas,” he said.

“Laws and law enforcement will curb money stolen from developing countries being shifted to Australia.

“Ordinary people taking action on these issues is important to show the government that ordinary voters are concerned that Australia plays the role of a good global citizen.”

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