Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera
The government enacted new laws in parliament yesterday to deal with LTTE overseas fund raising activities and money laundering.The Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill and the Convention of the Suppression of Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Bill were passed in the House.
Education Minister Bandula Gunawardene said the two bills enacted on recommendations by the United Nations would permit action against anyone aiding and abetting a terrorist or an act of terrorism here or abroad.
The minister who opened the debate on behalf of the government said the LTTE rump had started fund raising in Europe and some other parts of the world, and the new law on terrorist financing would have enough teeth to deal with them.
He said Sri Lankans living here or abroad could be taken to task if they were found guilty of terrorist financing or money laundering.
According to the new law, police will be vested with powers to seize the assets of such people without a judicial order and with regard to money laundering, if a person is found guilty of transferring money earned through illegal means (black money) to a foreign country, the police will have power to seize his or her local assets.
“We found lacunas in the existing laws in the country when dealing with the present situation. Therefore, we sought UN assistance to amend them. They gave us necessary recommendations,” the minister said.
United National Party (UNP) MP Ravi Karunanayake joining the debate on behalf of the opposition asked what happened to assets seized from LTTE’s chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP.
“There were 19 ships and financial assets of about Rs.4,200 million. What happened to them? Today, the government is giving helicopter rides to KP. Yet, they have put the former army commander Sarath Fonseka, in jail. Is this justice?” he asked.