Transparency International questions the source of funds for oil refinery project

Transparency International questions the source of funds for oil refinery project

Written by Staff Writer

27 Mar, 2019 | 11:03 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) says it believes the controversy surrounding the proposed US$ 3.85 billion oil refinery in Mirijjawila, Hambantota, could have a negative impact on Sri Lanka’s efforts to remove itself from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF), ‘Grey List’ of countries vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing.

Transparency in its media release says the main investor in the project, the Singapore based ‘investment vehicle’ Silver Park International Pte Ltd, is a company controlled by the family of Tamil Nadu politician and former Indian Union Minister Dr S. Jagathrakshakan, whose business interests have previously been implicated by Indian authorities and the media in several alleged corruption scandals.

It also reveals that of the 40 FATF recommendations which set the international standards on combating money laundering, recommendation 12 requires that reasonable measures be taken to ascertain the source of wealth and source of funds in transactions involving politically exposed persons.

TISL’s Manager of Research and Policy Attorney-at-Law Maheshi Herat noted that the government should be cautious of individuals when making such transactions because Sri Lanka has been identified as a country vulnerable to money laundering. She noted that this has been identified by the FATF and it also has been included in the Grey List published by them.

Maheshi Herat noted that the Central Bank is making a valiant effort to remove Sri Lanka from the said “Grey List” because if Sri Lanka is included in this list, many complications can occur even when carrying out simple financial transactions.

She noted that against such a backdrop, there is a procedure which should be followed when entering into such transactions. She went onto note that the FATF has specified several recommendations to be followed when dealing with such politically involved persons. Herat noted that state institutions such as the BOI have a responsibility to look into such transactions comprehensively.

However, the Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade states that such a process should not be followed regarding investments.

When News 1st journalist Sripal Wanniarachchi questioned him in this regard about the track record of the top most person on the Board of Directors, Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara Jayamaha noted that it is not a problem for them. He noted that the BOI does not consider the character records of people.

When questioned if the person in question (Indian politician) has allegations of financial fraud levelled against him Deputy Minister Jayamaha said that they do not look into those details; as per procedure followed by the Central Bank they do not care if a particular investor has murdered people in his own country. He noted that it does not matter whether he has looted either. He stressed that the BOI does not look into the background.

Isn’t our country facing many crises today as a result of such ignorant statements?

Deputy Minister, this is a shameful statement.

Are you agreeing that any individual regardless of whether he is a murderer, international criminal or racketeer, can invest in our country?

It goes without saying that the henchmen follow the path trodden by their leader.

Who are the people discussing with the leader?

We cover the faces of a few people because of the positive image they portray to the public.

Are critical decisions concerning investment projects, business plans as well as political decisions taken at such discussions?

Anura Dissanayake made a revelation today regarding the individuals who joined this discussion.

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