Sri Lanka must use court verdict to recover stolen assets: CBK

The government must use a recent Supreme Court verdict on Sri Lanka’s economic crisis to recover “stolen assets” and redistribute them among the public, former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said.

In a statement to the media on Sunday November 19, Kumaratunga said the Supreme Court’s verdict on who was responsible for “bankruting” Sri Lanka was a rare and special one.

“The only question I have is, there are many other people connected to it who have not been named. But this is a very rare ruling in this country, and it is a great one,” she said.

Noting that the apex court hasn’t sentenced the parties named in the verdict, Kumaratunga said the petitioners hadn’t sought a penalty for the accused.

“But citizens can go to court and seek punishment and compensation,” she said, adding that millions of Sri Lankans who have had to go hungry as a result of the economic crisis can use the opportunity to get redress.

The former president went further and said money allegedly stuffed in foreign bank accounts and offshore companies or invested in hotels and residences in Sri Lanka can also be found through police investigation, using the court’s verdict.

“The government can appropriate these assets, convert them to cash and absorb it to the Treasury or redistribute it among the people,” she said.

“This is nothing new. The World Bank has a stolen assets unit which has mechanisms in place for finding such things. We can obtain their assistance. In the Philippines assets were recovered and brought back to their country, to a great extent,” said Kumaratunga.

“This can be done. I urge the government to take action on this immediately,” she added.

Meanwhile, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has said he does not accept the verdict holding him, two of his brothers and officials affiliated with their administration responsible for Sri Lanka’s financial crisis.