EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s opposition says it will not allow the country to be subjected to an international war crimes probe but, should it come to power, will initiate international probes into money laundering and white collar crimes and punish the perpetrators.
The opposition will defend ‘war heroes’ against any attempts to take them before an international tribunal for war crimes, said Patali Champika Ranawaka, representing the Sinhala-Buddhist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party in the opposition coalition.
He was referring to allegations of war crimes against Sri Lanka soldiers in the campaign that defeated Tamil Tiger separatists in 2009.
“But we will have no mercy on those laundering money, opening unauthorized accounts in tax havens and white collar criminals," Ranawaka declared, speaking at a political debate aired on private Sirasa TV last week.
"We will investigate them, expose them and subject them to a full international probe on money laundering and punish them.”
Ranawaka, a former energy minister, defected from government ranks and his JHU is now supporting the common opposition candidate in the January 8 presidential elections.
The opposition alleges that several influential individuals are laundering large amounts of money via the Cayman Islands and taking large sums of foreign exchange out of the country into Swiss banks without exchange control approval.
The joint opposition candidate for the January presidential elections Maithripala Sirisena has vowed to end the executive presidency, end nepotism and corruption and restore law and order.
Sri Lanka is battling a mainly US-led Western attempt to subject the country to a war crimes probe through the United Nations Human Rights Commission.