Sri Lanka gets UK assistance for serious fraud investigations

Dec 19, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is the first country in the world that received a tailored package of training from a senior investigator of UK Serious Fraud Office, UK’s Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Laura Davies, said in a recent blog post.

According to Davies the UK was one of the first to offer practical support when the new Sri Lankan Government asked the international community for assistance in tackling corruption earlier this year.

“The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has sent a senior investigator to Colombo. Sri Lanka is the first country in the world to which the Serious Fraud Office has seconded an officer in this way,” Davies said.

“He has designed and delivered a tailored package of training, to develop investigation capability in the Bribery Commission and police, including the new Financial Crime Investigation Division.”

In the blog post she revealed that the SFO also arranged for four Sri Lankan officers to attend their own investigation training course in London.

“Again, the first time that they have invited external participants onto such a specialist programme.” Davies said.

Deputy High Commissioner added that over the next three years, the British Government is committed to spend over 15 million rupees to support the Sri Lankan government in its determination to combat bribery and corruption.

“This will mostly be in the form of continued capacity building and training for all the professional branches involved in anti-corruption work,”

“Partnership is essential, and we’re working very closely with the USA and Australia, as well as with the Swiss.” She said.

Few days before the 2015 General Elections, the Sri Lankan government sought international assistance from US, India, UK as well as the stolen assets recovery unit of the World Bank to trace financial abuses by the former government.

In May this year, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera charged Rajapaksa family for siphoning off assets from the country, even though the former President denied it.