Travel Ban

Audrey Azoulay

Jan 19, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's central bank said it had won a court order impounding the passports of several officials of Okanda Finance Limited, an unlicensed finance company, to prevent them leaving the country.

A bank statement said four of six organisations and individuals carrying on finance business without authority had failed to register under the finance companies act despite being asked to do so.

The central bank crackdown came after the scandal involving Ranasinghe hit the headlines, with public criticism that the regulator had not done enough to prevent such scams.

However, the central bank maintained that it had repeatedly warned the public to be wary of unlicensed finance firms and promises of high returns. It said in a statement the Colombo Chief Magistrates’ Court issued order to the Controller of Immigration and Emigration Monday to prevent the Okanda officials from leaving the country.

The Chief Magistrate also ordered that copies of the order be sent to the police Criminal Investigation Department unit at the island's sole international airport.

Okanda Finance had failed to submit information required in terms of the Finance Companies Act, the central bank said.

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