Govt. freezes TRO millions
Angry Thilakar questions the decision
The government has frozen all funds of the Tamil
Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) – a front organization of
the LTTE with immediate effect.
The freezing of the funds of the organization
was known to the TRO members only when they made an attempt to make
a withdrawal from their accounts in Kilinochchi and in Colombo.
The directive has been given by the Central Bank,
The Sunday Times learns.
Central Bank Sources said the action was being
taken on the Act passed early this year on combating financing of
TRO Administration Director Lawrance Thilakar,
a former spokesman of the LTTE, confirmed to The Sunday Times that
the organisation’s funds had been frozen from Friday and they
had been told by banks that no withdrawals would be possible until
He said that no prior notice had been given to
the organization though it was registered with the government and
functioning since 1985.
The Sunday Times learns that one of the state
bank managers and his assistant in Kilinochchi were questioned by
the TRO staff as to why the TRO was not informed about the government
They were reportedly told that if necessary they
could have taken away the funds as the bank is located in an uncleared
area. However they were released yesterday morning.
The bank had TRO deposits amounting to Rs. 20
million when the order to freeze the accounts was given.
In Colombo, TRO officials who visited a private
bank were told about the order and their cheques were not accepted.
Mr. Thilakar said relief work of the TRO would
be affected as they are currently looking after persons displaced
by the conflict as well as carrying out tsunami relief operations.
The TRO was granted Rs 2,000 million (20 million
US dollars) for tsunami relief work from international organizations
including UN agencies.
In January this year the Government called on
the US government to ban the TRO operations in that country. The
matter was raised by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during
his visit to the US.
The TRO is registered as a charity organization
in the US and functions in 28 other countries. In Britain, the Charity
Commission started probing TRO functions and subsequently a new
charitable company known as the Tamil Support Foundation (TSF) was
set up with TRO funds reportedly being transferred to the new trust.
Yesterday TRO legal advisors were making attempts
to contact Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal to seek clarification
about the decision to freeze funds.