Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
12 Jul, 2018 | 4:22 pm
Colombo (News1st): A seminar on Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) in Sri Lanka organised by the Bandaranaike centre for international studies was held in Colombo today. The Keynote address was delivered by Defense Secretary Kapila Widyaratne who spoke on the national security implications of TOC.
Widyaratne noted that TOC relies heavily on industry experts to facilitate their corrupt transactions. He noted that semi-legitimate players such as accountants, lawyers, bankers and real estate agents facilitate TOC by providing their services in the creation of shell corporations, offshore accounts, money laundering and safe houses.
The Defense Secretary noted that while TOCs originate from developed countries, their effects are mostly felt by developing countries or countries ridden with conflict. He noted that such nations have weak rule of law and state institutions which allows TOC cartels to operate freely. He went on to note that weak rule of law allows high ranking bureaucrats jump through loopholes and cut corners to facilitate TOC.
Kapila Widyaratne believes that ties between TOC cartels, Government institutions and high-end business are a significant threat to growth and democracy. He goes onto note that TOC cartels embed themselves in national politics through various forms including bribery adding that expansion of alliances with political leaders and law enforcement undermines free markets and economic stability.
While issuing a warning that TOCs would continue to grow, until the high profits and low risks of such crimes are tackled, the defence secretary noted that local and international steps can be taken to mitigate TOC and prevent it on a larger scale.
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