The Financial Investigations Division (FID) has secured a Pecuniary Penalty Order (PPO) of J$6.4 million in the Supreme Court against St Andrew businessman and entrepreneur Chee Chung, who authorities said was charged with unlawful possession of a quantity of products (‘bleaching cream’) stored for sale contrary to Section 26 (1) (h) of the Pharmacy Act.
The FID, in a release, said, it later presented evidence proving that Chung’s lifestyle was, in part, financed by the unlawful sale of the products.
The PPO was granted by Justice G Fraser pursuant to Section 5 (3) (b) of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). Chung was represented by King’s Counsel Peter Champagnie.
Principal Director of Investigations at the FID Keith Darien noted: “The genesis and passage of this case through the court should be a reminder to the public and business operators of the strength of POCA.
“If you benefit from breaking the law, the FID will utilise POCA to remove that benefit. Our law enforcement colleagues are becoming increasingly vigilant in looking beyond predicate offences to identify where a benefit has been derived from the criminal activities for which persons have been charged or convicted,” the FID official said.
“Continued collaboration across law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies will result in more cases such as these being prosecuted in the courts. We urge business owners, employees, and the public to increase their awareness of POCA while generally ensuring adherence to the laws which govern our conduct as citizens,” the FID said.
Following an intelligence-led operation on April 11, 2017, conducted at a commercial premises at a section of Constant Spring Road in St Andrew, Chee, was charged with unlawful possession of a quantity of products (‘bleaching cream’) stored for sale contrary to Section 26 (1) (h) of the Pharmacy Act.
The products contained substances that are classified as ‘List two (2) and List four (4) drugs or prescription drugs’ and would require a medical doctor authorisation before use.
Chee was also charged with breaches of Section 210 of the Customs Act and breaches of Section 4 (1) of the Food and Drugs Act.
On October 5, 2018, Chung was convicted in the Corporate Area Parish Court for breaches of the Pharmacy Act. A verdict of not guilty was returned on the charges related to breaches of the Customs Act and the Food and Drugs Act.
The FID successfully made an application on October 5, 2018, to the Supreme Court for Chee to be committed for consideration of a Forfeiture or Pecuniary Penalty Order pursuant to Section 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The FID presented evidence proving that Chung’s lifestyle was, in part, financed by the unlawful sale of the products.
He did not contest the charges and was cooperative throughout the trial. This, along with other technicalities throughout the life of the trial resulted in a PPO being granted in the amount of J$6.4 million on March 23, 2023, in the Supreme Court.