Bill to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, delayed

Bill to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, delayed

Written by Staff Writer

18 Jun, 2018 | 11:49 pm

COLOMBO (News First) – Deputy Minister of Law and Order Nalin Bandara says the tabling of the Bill to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, has been postponed. Bandara noted that the Bill was to be presented to Parliament tomorrow.

The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act No. 25 of 2002, was adopted to facilitate cooperation between Sri Lanka and other selected jurisdictions in the exchange of suspects and witnesses. This Act provides for the service of documents on such persons, the examination of witnesses, obtaining of evidence, executing requests for search and seizure, temporarily transferring a person in custody to appear as a witness and the location of the proceeds of crime among others.

However, thus far the Act has only applied to specific Commonwealth nations. Issuing a media release yesterday, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that the government was laying the groundwork for a betrayal by amending the Act to apply in all jurisdictions.

He further said that although the government has the responsibility of bringing Arjun Mahendran down to Sri Lanka they are not doing so, in the same manner, they are putting in efforts to bring Udayanga Weerathunga, the former ambassador to Russia to Sri Lanka. Rajapakshe also said that Udayanga has been informed to return to the country and he is willing to do so.

Deputy Minister of Law and order, Nalin Bandara stated that even though the former president is interpreting it as a betrayal of the country, this bill would pave the way for the return of Mahendran and all other rogues that fled overseas.

The bill is currently held back due to a technical flaw in the draft and is expected to be submitted within the next two weeks.

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