Govt. in overdrive with US assistance Search for ‘stolen funds’
Posted on December 21st, 2017

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

A US official is in Colombo to coordinate high profile ongoing asset recovery operations undertaken by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.

Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne yesterday said the US official coordinated training programmes involving his outfit and related work. PC Jayamanne said so when The Island inquired from him about the recent US State Department announcement that Sri Lanka would receive US assistance in this regard.

PC Jayamanne succeeded Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe in late Oct. 2016 following her sudden resignation after an incident where President Maithripala Sirisena took the CIABOC to task.

The State Department Spokesperson on Dec.5 declared that since 2016, the US government had assisted in Sri Lanka’s anti-corruption efforts to improve the functioning of the legal system and civil society and to enhance good governance. The spokesperson said programmes included the provision of a Resident Legal Advisor to provide anti-corruption and asset recovery training, and support to the CIABOC.

PC Jayamanne said that on the basis of the State Department statement Sri Lanka had been erroneously categorised as one of the four most corrupt countries by a section of the media. The DG, CIABOC said that the US had offered assistance consequent to Sri Lanka’s request last year. Ukraine, Tunisia and Nigeria had been named as other recipients of US assistance, he said.

The US official works with the Attorney General’s Department as well as Presidential Task Force engaged in anti-corruption work.

The Island sought an explanation from the Public Affairs Section of the US embassy in Colombo on Dec. 11 regarding State Department categorising Sri Lanka among a group of countries selected to receive US assistance to combat corruption. In spite of repeated reminders, the following questions went unanswered:

(a) Has the State Department examined treasury bond scams perpetrated in Feb 2015 and March 2016 before offering special assistance to Sri Lanka, including provision of Resident Legal Advisor, Colombo?

(b) As the State Department has revealed allocation of USD 115 mn annually for global anti-corruption activities, could the embassy reveal the allocation for Sri Lanka?

(c) What is the status of Rs 1.92 bn (USD 13 mn) USAID project meant to strengthen accountability and democratic governance in Sri Lanka against the backdrop of the country being named as one of the four countries which required US assistance to tackle corruption?

Although the proposal didn’t materialize, the UK, too, in mid-2016 offered to station some personnel in Colombo in support of CIABOC.

PC Jayamanne explained how Nigeria had benefited from US-led assistance to recover stolen funds. Nigeria and Sri Lanka had been at the recently concluded inaugural Global Forum on Asset recovery (GFAR) co-hosted by the US and the UK in Washington. Jayamanne said that initially Nigeria would receive USD 300 mn from Switzerland. PC Jayamanne was on Sri Lanka’s delegation along with other senior Attorney General’s Department officers.

Following GFAR, international news agencies quoted Nigerian Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami as having said at the Chatham House, London, that he had signed two agreements, on behalf of Nigeria, with Switzerland and the United States of America, respectively, for the return of USD 621 million in looted funds.

According to agencies, former head of state, late General Sani Abacha and the former Bayelsa State Governor, late Diepreye Alamieyeisegha were responsible for illegal transfers.

Jayamanne stressed that Sri Lanka’s desire to secure international assistance in asset recovery operations shouldn’t be construed as a failure of the domestic mechanisms. “Some investigations do require international assistance and expertise,” he said.

The media has revealed that the stolen funds currently in the custody of the US were stashed away in the United Kingdom (USD 1.6m and 21.7m Pounds), France (USD 145m) and Jersey (USD 299m) respectively.

Jayamanne said the World Bank, too, had been involved in the initiative. Referring to an international conference in Austria he had participated several months ago, Jayamanne explained the stand taken by some that recovered money should be utilized subjected to strict international scrutiny.

3 Responses to “Govt. in overdrive with US assistance Search for ‘stolen funds’”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    The upcoming Local Government Elections in February, 2018, will indeed serve as a Janamatha Vicharanaya or REFERENDUM on Public Opinion. It is of ENORMOUS SIGNIFICANCE to our country for the reasons I give below.

    If the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) demonstrates overwhelming strength at this Election, it will encourage the President Maithripala Sirisena and his SLFP faction to JETTISON the UNP now and join the SLPP to face the UNP as a formidable RECONSTITUTED SLFP inat the GEneral Election in 2020.

    In that case, as the Governing Party, the recombined SLPP-SLFP will be sure to win in 2020, ushering in a STABLE GOVERNMENT that will be able to PRESERVE the interests of the Patriotic Sinhala Buddhist Forces of our Motherland.

    If the Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) fails to achieve an overwhelming majority in February, 2018 Maithreepala Sirisena may decide to keep the SLFP-UNP coalition going until the Presidential Election in 2020 for his personal survival in the hope that UNP mis-steps and various commissions appointed by him to probe UNP misdeeds will weaken the UNP sufficiently at the hustings in 2020 for the SLFP to maintain its hold on the Parliament in 2020, and the Presidency in 2021.

    In the latter case, the UNP will use the remaining 2.5 years until the General Election in 2020 to weaken the Presidency and the SLPP. In particular, it will do its UTMOST to introduce a NEW CONSTITUTION that GUTS Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty imposing a Federal System of Government on a PROSTRATE Sri Lanka, SELL to foreigners and/or PRIVATIZE as many STATE INSTITUTIONS and ASSETS as possible, implement the ETCA agreement with India, stock its Party coffers with STOLEN STATE FUNDS and STASH as much money ABROAD for its leaders to serve as GOLDEN PARACHUTES for the INEVITABLE and possibly VERY VIOLENT fall of the UNP government, and put as many as possible of its political opponents in prison to weaken and destroy the opposition.

    In a NUTSHELL, the STAKE in this Election is ENORMOUS: an OVERWHELMING VICTORY for the Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in the Local Government Election in February, 2018 is ESSENTIAL and CRITICAL to OUST the current Yamapalanaya EARLY to PRESERVE PEACE, SECURITY and GOOD HEALTH of our country until 2020 and BEYOND!

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Sira is planning a STRATEGIC MOVE against SLPP USING SLPP’s family business model.

    SLPP is a FAMILY BUSINESS. Only CLOSE FRIENDS of the MR-BR family were given NOMINATIONS. Because of this others are NOT in SLPP’s driving seat. MOST winners from the SLPP will be PERSONALLY loyal to BR.

    MR blind supporters think it is BRILLIANT. So dies Sira!!

    Sira ALLOWS all SLPP to focus around BR. He gives it TIME. When the right time comes SIRA lifts the net!!

    Corruption Commission is in OVERDRIVE to frame BR. Because of the nature of the SLPP (with BR’s close friends winning it from SLPP), if you ARREST BR his party SLPP collapses.

  3. Christie Says:

    We should investigate any finacing by India and Indian Parasites of USA of the installing of the current government.

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