Sri Lanka BOI deletes page promising freedom from expropriation

Nov 11, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment, the state investment promotion agency, has deleted a page which ‘guaranteed’ investors freedom from expropriation, raising questions of heightened political risk, lawmakers said. Sri Lanka passed a law to expropriate assets of 37 businesses, in several of which foreign investors were involved, after rushing it to parliament as an urgent bill, despite the existence of article 157 in the constitution which guaranteed freedom from nationalisation.

An official said the change was part of a revamp of the website which has been re-launched and a direct link has been provided to the relevant section on the constitution elsewhere.

Lawmakers at a debate Wednesday said while the parliament had been informed that the draft law was not inconsistent with the constitution, they do not know what else was said in a Supreme Court determination on the bill.

Sri Lanka’s 1978 constitution, enacted by then President J R Jayewardene has been criticized as a document that placed him above the law, destroyed the remnants of a public service paving the way to arbitrary rule and undermined civil liberties.

But it guaranteed freedom from expropriation allowing foreign investors who had