UNODC to support Sri Lanka to recover fraudulently earned assets

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, President’s Counsel, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe says work on recovering the money deposited in foreign countries by individuals who fraudulently acquired assets in the next few days since the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has agreed to provide the necessary support for the task.

The Minister made this disclosure during a special discussion held with Marco Teixeira, the South Asian Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, at the Ministry of Justice Monday (04).

Minister Rajapakshe said that the UNODC is working on behalf of the World Bank to recover the money from people who have fraudulently earned the assets and deposited in foreign countries. He added that with the new Anti-Corruption Act coming into effect on the 15th of this month, the new Bribery or Corruption Investigation Commission of Sri Lanka will have the ability to deal with such persons.

He said actions will be taken to recover the corrupt money through the StAR (Stolen Asset Recovery Assistance) system used by the World Bank and the UNODC together to recover stolen assets.

The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) is a partnership between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that supports international efforts to end safe havens for corrupt funds. StAR works with developing countries and financial centers to prevent the laundering of the proceeds of corruption and to facilitate more systematic and timely return of stolen assets.

The Minister of Justice also briefed the UNODC representative on the judicial system in Sri Lanka to prevent crimes, the new anti-corruption law passed to reduce corruption, the new anti-terrorism bill and the rehabilitation process for the rehabilitation of drug addicts.

The Minister explained the facts about the adoption of new laws to strengthen the rehabilitation process, the establishment of new centers to rehabilitate drug addicts, the rehabilitation process in prisons and the community corrections system.

Noting that many programs are already implemented to fight crime and corruption in Sri Lanka, the South Asian regional representative of the office of UNODC said in the future, all necessary support will be provided to Sri Lanka for the strong implementation of those programs for a country free from crime and corruption.

Wasantha Perera, Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, Ekaterina Kolykhalova of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime South, East and Pacific Regional Operations Unit; Siri Bjune, Head of the Global Maritime and Crime Division of the Sri Lanka Program of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Anusha Munasinghe, National Program Coordinator of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, also attended this event.

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