Dec 19, Colombo: The British government is committed to support the Sri Lankan government in its determination to combat bribery and corruption, UK’s Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Laura Davies, said in a recent blog post.
Over the next three years, the British Government is committed to spending over Rs. 15 million for continued capacity building and training for all the professional branches involved in anti-corruption work, Davies said.
She said that when the new Sri Lankan Government asked the international community for assistance in tackling corruption earlier this year, the UK was one of the first to offer practical support.
The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has sent a senior investigator to Colombo and he has designed and delivered a tailored package of training, to develop investigation capability in the Bribery Commission and police, including the new Financial Crime Investigation Division.
According to the Deputy High Commissioner, Sri Lanka is the first country in the world to which the Serious Fraud Office has seconded an officer in this way.
The SFO also arranged for four Sri Lankan officers to attend their own investigation training course in London: again, the first time that they have invited external participants onto such a specialist program, Davies said.
"We're also enhancing investigators' capability to engage in international cases, through legal advice, exchanges and English language training," Davies said in her blog.
"Partnership is essential, and we’re working very closely with the USA and Australia, as well as with the Swiss." She added.
She noted that a corruption investigation to court takes a frustratingly long time for all involved. "But the good news is that internal Sri Lankan police evaluation of our training shows that it is building confidence and key skills," Davies said.
Earlier this year Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka requested the assistance of several states, including the UK, the US, and India as, well as the stolen assets recovery unit at the World Bank to identify assets stashed abroad in offshore accounts, property and business investments.
He said the investigations were on the verge of some major breakthroughs and the government is preparing criminal cases.