It is imperative that Sri Lanka adheres to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Framework (AML/CFT). Towards this end it needs to prioritize certain measures for consistent implementation, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said in a press release.
The release added: In response to an invitation from the Financial Intelligence Unit of Sri Lanka, a high-level delegation from the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) visited Sri Lanka to engage with local authorities and provide them with crucial insights regarding the upcoming mutual evaluation of Sri Lanka’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Framework. The international delegation included:
Julien Brazeau: APG Co-Chair and Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of Canada’s Department of Finance in Ottawa within the Financial Sector Policy Branch.
▪ Dr. Gordon Hook: Executive Secretary, APG
▪ David Shannon: Director, Mutual Evaluations Quality & Consistency, APG
The APG is one of the main regional monitoring bodies of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), committed to monitoring and guiding the member jurisdictions in effective implementation of the international standards to combat money laundering (ML), terrorism financing (TF), and proliferation financing associated with weapons of mass destruction (PFWMD). Approximately 200 countries are affiliated with the nine regional bodies under the FATF’s purview. Sri Lanka is one of the 13 founding members of the APG, since 1997.
The FATF serves as the global watchdog against ML/TF, setting internationally recognized standards aimed at preventing these illicit activities and the harm they inflict on society. Member countries are expected to adhere to these standards, and the FATF assesses their performance based on a comprehensive assessment methodology that encompasses two key dimensions:
1. Technical Compliance: evaluates the legal and institutional framework, as well as the authority and procedures of competent authorities.
2. Effectiveness Assessment: gauges the extent to which the legal and institutional framework produces the anticipated results.
Sri Lanka was identified as a “Grey List” country with strategic deficiencies in its AML/CFT Framework twice by the FATF in 2011 and 2017, respectively, sebsequent to Sri Lanka’s 1st and 2nd Mutual Evaluations. During the 2017 Grey Listing, the European Union also “Black Listed” Sri Lanka for non-compliance with these international standards. In 2019, Sri Lanka was able to exit the Grey List after addressing the gaps in the legal and institutional framework.
Sri Lanka’s 3rd Mutual Evaluation is scheduled in 76 weeks (March 2025). As a nation, it is imperative that Sri Lanka achieves Technical Compliance with the FATF 40 Recommendations and ensure that our AML/CFT framework delivers expected results, as measured by the FATF’s 11 Immediate Outcomes. To this end, there are 24 stakeholders actively engaged in combating ML/TF in the country. The Financial Intelligence Unit, as the focal point in coordinating efforts, has obtained the approval of the Cabinet of
Ministers for the stakeholder-wise Actions Plans aimed at addressing the identified gaps in the AML/CFT Framework.
During the 3-day visit, the delegation had the privilege of meeting with key figures in Sri Lanka, including HE the President, the Hon. Chief Justice and Senior Justices of the
Supreme Court, the Foreign Minister, the Attorney General, and the Governor of the Central Bank/Chairman National Coordinating Committee on AML/CFT, Senior Law Enforcement Officials alongside private sector and other key stakeholders.
The delegation observed that at the highest levels of Sri Lanka’s leadership, there is a deep understanding of the significance of the upcoming Mutual Evaluation, and that it is imperative that all the stakeholders are committed to achieving strong results that mirror a resilient AML/CFT system. Implementing FATF standards for enhanced effectiveness is fundamental to safeguarding our economy and society from profit-driven crimes, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Sri Lanka is acutely aware of the severe costs incurred by the country due to terrorism, terrorist financing, drug trafficking, corruption, trade-related crimes, and other profit-driven criminal activities, including money laundering. To successfully prepare for the mutual evaluation and avoid the adverse economic consequences of FATF grey-listing, it is paramount to prioritize activities in the following order:
1. Focus on Effectiveness: Emphasize the ability of the AML/CFT system to produce operational results that address Sri Lanka’s specific risks effectively.
2. Enhanced Monitoring: Stakeholders should intensify monitoring of progress and operational outcomes to support the advancement of priority implementation plans and surmount any obstacles to effectiveness.
3. Timely Legislation: Expedite the passage of critical AML/CFT-related legislation to ensure the availability of the necessary tools for achieving operational outputs.
4. Resource Allocation: Allocate adequate resources on a priority basis to agencies responsible for implementing the AML/CFT framework to facilitate the achievement of operational outcomes timely.
5. Inter-Agency Coordination: Sustain inter-agency coordination through effective leadership and well-supported mechanisms for targeted planning and progress monitoring in line with implementation plans.
6. Prosecution: Enhancing the capacity and active involvement of prosecutors in money laundering and terrorism financing cases.
7. Law Enforcement: Bolster implementation by law enforcement agencies, particularly through the clearance of backlogs in money laundering cases and increase in the scope of asset recovery and money laundering-related activities.
8. Judiciary: Improve the capacity of the Judiciary for timely and effective adjudication of money laundering cases and terrorism financing cases
9. Private Sector Engagement: Encourage active involvement of the private sector, fostering shared goals with the government for priority implementation of AML/CFT systems.
10. International Cooperation: Strengthen and focus on international cooperation, recognizing its pivotal role in demonstrating effectiveness. Foster deeper collaboration with countries that share key money laundering and terrorist financing risks.
By diligently adhering to these prioritized actions, Sri Lanka can secure a favorable outcome in its Mutual Evaluation and avoid the adverse economic and financial consequences associated with FATF Grey-Listing. Therefore, each of the 24 stakeholders are expected to ensure they have made every possible effort within their capacity to address the gaps in the AML/CFT Framework in a timely manner to face the country’s 3rd Mutual Evaluation.
HNB renews partnership with Prime Group for exclusive home loans
Paving the path for aspiring homeowners, Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, HNB PLC, renewed its long-standing partnership with local real estate giant Prime Group to offer investors exclusive deals and benefits.
The partnership will offer customers a range of benefits, including special interest rates during the September and October promotional period. The exclusive offer extends to all properties across Prime Group’s extensive portfolio, including highly anticipated Prime Residencies projects, such as The Grand Ward Place, The Beachfront Uswetakeiyawa II and 43 by the Sea on Marine Drive, Dehiwala.
“Building your own home in Sri Lanka can be quite a challenge. The escalating costs of construction, driven by rising inflation, have added to the struggle. We at HNB remain steadfast in our commitment to empower every Sri Lankan to own a home of their own. As such, we are delighted to partner with Prime Group again to offer our customers affordable financing options and exceptional services,” HNB Assistant General Manager – Personal Financial Services (PFS), Kanchana Karunagama, said.
Delivering the best value to its customers, HNB will offer special interest rates during the promotional period. Prospective homeowners can make use of convenient and flexible repayment options tailor-made to their budgets, together with doorstep mortgage advisory services provided by the Bank’s dedicated agents, who will assist with the legal documentation needed for the facility.
“As Prime Group, our mission is to empower Sri Lankans with the chance to achieve homeownership, allowing them to find stability and make the most of these challenging times. Therefore, it is a pleasure for us to partner with HNB in serving our customers,” Prime Group Director – Corporate Affairs Nalinda Heenatigala said.
SLT-MOBITEL empowers Apple iPhone users across Sri Lanka to embrace 5G revolution
SLT-MOBITEL is providing a groundbreaking opportunity, enabling customers with latest Apple iPhone devices to experience the best of 5G technology through its state-of-the-art 5G trial network. Apple users who have 5G compatible iPhone devices and with the latest iOS 17 update can now experience 5G when they are in a SLT-MOBITEL 5G trial zone.
Recognising 5G as a game-changer, SLT-MOBITEL was the first to trial 5G technology in South Asia in 2018 and has been at the forefront of the 5G revolution in Sri Lanka ever since. Recently, SLT-MOBITEL expanded its 5G pre-commercial trial network across main cities including Colombo, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Galle, and Jaffna, setting pathways for customers to seamlessly explore the possibilities of 5G technology.
Celebrating the new offering, SLT-MOBITEL is providing its customers with an amazing 10GB of free trial data on the lightning-fast 5G network. The trial data allows users to explore the capabilities of 5G without an initial cost and harness the full power of 5G technology, unlocking a world of new possibilities.SLT-MOBITEL extends a special invitation to customers who own 5G enabled iPhone 12 devices and beyond, to seize this exciting opportunity and become part of the 5G revolution by updating their eligible iOS device.
SLPA poised as an exemplary model for SOEs, says its chairman
Keith D. Bernard – the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), welcoming the attendees as chair, made this comments at the Annual Performance Review Meeting (APRM) of SLPA for the year 2022. The meeting was held on September 14, 2023, at its headquarters in Colombo.Entities incorporated under any statute other than the Companies Act must have an APRM every year where the annual report is presented. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) was established under Act No. 51 of 1970.
In terms of the Guidelines for Corporate Governance of PED Circular No. 1/2021 dated November 16, 2021, it is important that the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) maintain continuous communication with their stakeholders at all times through mandatory requirements such as the Annual Report. Such disclosure of information ensures transparency and accountability without compromising any statutory or operational requirements of the entity.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of SLPA expressed his perspective on the organisation’s future direction. He acknowledged SLPA’s recent achievements and progress in completing the East Container Terminal (ECT) and stressed the need for strategic planning with government support for the future.
“At present, SLPA serves as the regulator, operator, and landlord of our ports. In our capacity as the landlord, we possess assets throughout the country, and all commercial ports fall under the purview of SLPA. Additionally, we compete directly with private operators as operators ourselves. Therefore, we must carefully consider whether our role as operators should remain independent or involve collaboration with other operators. It’s crucial that we approach this strategically and define our precise role in this sector for the future,” he said.
Bernard also highlighted the significance of conducting a self-assessment in the pursuit of good governance within the organisation.
“We have commendable ministerial support and boast a talented team of dedicated professionals who tirelessly work towards the success of our port. While we have encountered challenges in the past, we are confident that, leveraging our strengths, we can overcome any hurdles. SLPA has the potential to serve as an exemplary model for the private sector, leading the way and becoming a guiding beacon for all institutions in Sri Lanka,” he said.
The Additional Director General of the Department of Public Enterprises – B.A.T. Rodrigo, commenting at the event, mentioned that in comparison to the other state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Sri Lanka, SLPA is the leading SOE amongst them and has been a role model to other SOEs. He wished SLPA would continue doing so in the future. He also thanked the Chairman, the Board of Directors, and the Management of SLPA for arranging the APRM adhering to the good governance guidelines.
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