Sri Lanka to change graft laws as President fast-tracks bond commission advice

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s is changing the country’s bribery laws officials had said at a meeting called  President Maithripala Sirisena to fast track recommendations of a commission that probed a massive securities scam involving the central bank.

Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, the Director General of the Bribery Commission and Governor of the Central Bank had been called to a meeting Monday where party leaders and representatives were also present, a statement from the office of the President said.

The Bribery Commission is in the final stages of drafting changes to its governing law, which has not been changed since 1994, officials had said.

The bond commission had recommended that changes be made to the monetary law act and registered stocks and securities ordinance.

It had recommended that actions should be considered against then Arjuna Mahendran, Arjun Aloysius, officers of the central bank and Employees Provident Fund and then-finance minister Ravi Karunanayake for corruption under bribery or other ‘appropriate legislation’.
Freedom activists say care must be taken not to enact retrospective laws to punish any citizen as it undermines just rule of law. Karunanayake himself enacted a retrospective law to tax companies which he said had ‘ill-gotten’ gains, in 2015 damaging Sri Lanka’s investment environment.

The attorney general has to file formal charges against those involved in the scam.

These include sacked Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran who had changed policy rates outside the monetary board meeting and interfered in a bond auction to the benefit Perpetual Treasuries, a company connected to his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius.

The commission also recommended a law to claw back gains made by Perpetual Treasuries through insider dealing and pumping and dumping of stocks on the central-bank-managed Employees Provident Fund and state funds. (Colombo/Jan29/2018)

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