As part of plans to seize the LTTE’s overseas assets and cripple its fund raising activities, the government had decided to strengthen the legal framework by amending the Financial Transaction Act, the Money Laundering Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Financing Act.
A top official of the Central Bank told Daily Mirror on condition of anonymity that the amended versions of these pieces of legislations were still pending approval by the Attorney General’s Department.
Once approval was given, he said, the bill would be presented in Parliament to be debated and enacted by the political parties.
“When these Acts were introduced a few years ago, the situation was different. Now, we have to do a lot more activities in dealing with suspicious transactions, mostly by terrorist groups. Therefore, these Acts have to be amendment. The Central Bank has done the needful. We are awaiting approval by the Legal Draftsman’s Department,” he said.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is an international organization promoting policies for the combating of money laundering and terrorist financing, has assisted the Central Bank in this regard after a review of the situation.
The FATF is a "policy-making body" which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
According its website, the FATF monitors members' progress in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. In performing these activities, the FATF collaborates with other international bodies involved in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The FATF does not have a tightly defined constitution or an unlimited life span. The Task Force reviews its mission every five years. The FATF has been in existence since 1989. In 2004, Ministry representatives from the 35 FATF members agreed to extend the mandate of the Task Force until 2012.
Also, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with 12 countries to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. Among them, agreements were signed last year with Australia, Belgium, India, Bangladesh and Solomon Islands. (KB)