New agencies to bolster the fight against financial crimes

New agencies to bolster the fight against financial crimes

Written by Charitha Fernando

17 May, 2018 | 7:26 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Amid an increase in financial crimes, the government has looped in new agencies to bolster the fight against anti-money laundering and terrorist financing.

A cabinet paper forwarded by Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera has received approval to include the Director General of the Bribery Commission, Commissioner General of the Department of Inland Revenue, the Commissioner General of the Department of Excise and representatives of the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs in the National Coordination Committee for Preventing Money Laundering and Terrorism Funding.

Joint cabinet spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka said an expansion in the use of technology has led to an increase in financial crimes and better coordination among government institutions is essential to face the situation successfully.

Sri Lanka comes under the purview of the Asia Pacific Group of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) anti-money laundering and countering terrorist finance framework. The global anti-money laundering body placed Sri Lanka under monitoring status, or a greylist last year saying there were strategic deficiencies in combating money laundering and terrorist financing. Following the FATF action, the European Union also added Sri Lanka to its list of countries at risk for money laundering.

Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said earlier this year that an action plan is underway to get Sri Lanka out of the Financial Action Task Force gray list. Analysts say that there has not been any direct impact because of the listing but a further deterioration or lack of progress in sound anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations could negatively impact the country’s sovereign rating, the banking system, and international trade.

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