The US State Department on Tuesday announced its continued assistance to Sri Lanka and three other countries to prevent and combat corruption in these countries.
In a statement, the State Department said the US government has provided foreign assistance for anti-corruption efforts in Sri Lanka since 2016 to improve the functioning of the country’s legal system and civil society and to enhance good governance.
“Programs include the provision of a Resident Legal Advisor to provide anti-corruption and asset recovery training, and support to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption,” it said.
According to the World Bank, it said over US$ 20 billion is stolen by corrupt officials annually.
“This is money that should be used to ensure the sustainable development of the countries for essential services such as schools, hospitals and roads. Rather than lining the pockets of corrupt officials, these funds should help grow economies and improve the well-being of the people of the countries,” it said.
The US has contributed US$ 1 million to the World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) to organize the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) and provide technical assistance to support country-level capacity building and coordination on asset recovery cases.
“The GFAR, which is being co-hosted by the US and UK, provides a platform to enable the four focus countries of Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Ukraine to make tangible progress on significant asset recovery cases in connection with financial centers and other jurisdictions,” the State Department said.
In addition to co-hosting GFAR, the US has provided significant technical assistance to the four focus countries to strengthen anti-corruption and asset recovery efforts.