Hornet’s Nest

August 2, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Wednesday said balances of dormant accounts taken over by can be claimed back by their rightful owners. According to bankers there are around 30 million dollars worth of unclaimed property and goods waiting to be claimed. In July the government announced it was taking possession of millions of dollars in bank accounts lying dormant or inactive for over 10 years, from August 31.

Under current laws, property and dormant accounts deemed to have been ‘abandoned’ for over a decade have to be transferred to a special Central Bank account.

The move has stirred a hornet’s nest, with minority Tamil parties and the Marxist JVP taking a stand that it will deprive people displaced by the conflict of their legitimate assets.

United National Party lawmaker T Maheshwaran says the decision affects long-standing Tamil people living in the north who have been displaced due to three-decades of war.

Panic has also spread among Sri Lankans residing overseas who learned for the first time that their monies deposited in the country’s banking system, runs the risk of being taken off the bank of their choice and