A member of the Joint Opposition laments that the Bill titled “Foreign Exchange” deprives and abrogates the power of parliament to have full control over public finance.
Parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardane yesterday (12) filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the impugned Bill which is an Act to provide for the promotion and regulation of foreign exchange; to vest the responsibility for providing and regulating foreign exchange in the Central Bank; to provide for the repeal of the Exchange Control Act.
He says the Bill deprives and abrogates the powers and duties of the Central Bank and the Monetary Board to supervise, regulate and control matters in relation to foreign exchange including Gold, currency, payments, securities, debts and import, export, transfer and settlement of property.
He charges the Bill empowers the Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers with the authority to be in charge of and thereby to regulate and control affairs and matters in relation to foreign exchange and all institutions authorized to act as dealers or otherwise, dealing with foreign exchange.
He states the Bill brings the statutory duties and powers of the Central Bank and the Monetary Board subject to the control of the Minister.
He asserts the Bill shall pave way for money laundering and unethical transfer and utilization of foreign exchange against both the international norms/law and domestic law against money laundering and shall place the national security and the economy in serious danger.
The impugned Bill lifts-off criminal liability with retrospective effect from persons who have already engaged in illegal transactions involving foreign exchange, by violating the provisions of the Exchange Control Act, he says.
It would create an investigation and inquiry procedure that could be conveniently influenced and interfered by the Minister and shall place the independence and impartiality of such procedure under suspicion, he states.
He prays that the entire Bill and/or any one or more of the clause and/or Sections thereof cannot become law unless passed by two-thirds of the whole number of the Members of Parliament and approved by the people at a referendum. (S.S. Selvanayagam)