Feb 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka parliament today moved a draft revision bill to revise legislation on terrorist financing as the country needs a complete legal framework in order to suppress the financing of terrorism.
The draft bill to amend the Convention on Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act No 25 of 2005 was presented to parliament by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva today and the debate on the proposed amendments will continue Thursday as well.
The Sri Lankan government, as a response to the threat from the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which is still active overseas, has launched legislative efforts focused on limiting financial support for the remnants of LTTE.
Sri Lanka says in order to suppress the financing of terrorism, the country needs a complete legal framework and therefore further revisions of the Act are needed.
Speaking on the Draft Bill, Deputy External Affairs Minister Neomal Perera said the objective of the Bill is to prevent collection of funds for terrorist organizations. He said that this act is in operation in Sri Lanka since 2005.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris brought the proposal in August 2012 to make changes in the law and the cabinet of ministers approved the proposal.
The amendments are made in accordance with recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the G 7 countries to establish the legal framework required to eliminate the remaining deficiencies in the law and take action to suppress financing terrorism.
Sri Lanka has provided a high-level written commitment to work with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an organization that combats international money laundering and terrorist financing, to implement corrective measures to adequately criminalize money laundering and terrorist financing.
The FATF in a report last June noted that although Sri Lanka has taken significant steps towards improving its anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures, Sri Lanka needs to continue to work on addressing the remaining issue regarding adequate criminalization of terrorist financing.
However, despite Sri Lanka's high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and Asia/Pacific Group (APG) to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, Sri Lanka has not made sufficient progress in implementing its action plan, FATF report said.
Working with the FATF, Sri Lanka amended the 2005 Act on October 6, 2011 to redefine, a number of terms used in the original enactment and to adopt changes in wording.
The Act was amended then to apply the terrorist financing law to any citizen of Sri Lanka as well as to any noncitizen while present in Sri Lanka.
The Act, which earlier was applicable only to terrorist groups, was expanded to include financing by a single terrorist and any terrorist act and the "funds" to include any kind of assets whether tangible or non-tangible and/or movable or stationary which are kept in Sri Lanka or outside Sri Lanka.
The FATF has encouraged Sri Lanka to address the deficiency in legislation to adequately criminalize terrorist financing and continue the process of implementing its action plan.