The Government will seek Parliament approval this week to enhance the powers in the two acts that deal with money laundering and terrorism financing.
The amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act will be taken up for debate on Wednesday as part of the government’s counter measures against terrorism with the lapse of the emergency regulations.
The Terrorist Financing Act is applicable in respect of Sri Lankan citizens and other nationals who while residing in the country or overseas provide or collect funds or property with an intention of committing an offence which constitute an act of terrorism or provide material support or resources to terrorists.
The new amendments to the Act provide for freezing of property or funds belonging to a person or groups that violate this law. They empower any police officer above the rank of ASP to order such a freeze for up to seven days and seek an order from the High Court for an extension if necessary.
The amendments to the Act will also provide for the obligations of secrecy or restriction imposed on the disclosure of information in any other written law to be overridden in cases where it is suspected the persons have acted in contravention of this law.
Amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act also enhance the scope of the original law to forfeit to the state any account, property or investment, income or profit earned by the commission of an unlawful activity.
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act was enacted in 2006 and the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing in 2005.