Passing Finance Act: Those who voted ‘yes’ have questionable wealth – AKD
By Faadhila Thassim
The Finance Act recently passed in Parliament is an effort to turn black money held by the Government and among a handful of politicians to white, those who voted in favour of the Act are those who possess such wealth, JVP Leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake alleged.
He said there is a large amount of undeclared wealth held by such politicians and officials who supported them to become rich by illegal means, together with fraudulent businessmen backed by politicians, drug dealers and underworld activities.
He added that when underworld figure Makandure Madush was arrested, there were reports of large amounts of money held in his bank accounts, raising the question as to the manner in which such income was generated. “How do Politicians have such large amounts of wealth? It is not from the salaries paid to ministers or MPs,” he said and added that the budget allocated for certain projects are not spent entirely as they mostly go to the Politicians instead. Dissanayake claimed the Finance Act seeks to clean illegally earned black money and that even those like Madush and underworld leader Potta Naufer would have been able to convert their black money to white if they were alive with the help of this Act.
He further said the money fraudulently earned by politicians by way of tenders could be legalised with this Act together with businesses who impose illegal taxes on their goods and added that certain State officials who make money through illegal sources could also legalise their earnings through this Act.
“If this type of law is brought to the public, it would have been rejected by them but it was passed in Parliament because most who supported this are those who possess such wealth,” he added. He stated that by 31 December, all this wealth will be legalised and could also be used in investments, adding that this form of money will then circulate within the country in the form of land, houses and other income generating sources or as cash itself.
This could be held internationally as well, in the past there were criticisms that arose in regards to illegal money being held internationally, this was made evident through the Panama Papers, while money was also reportedly held in bank accounts in Dubai and Switzerland, he said. “Not merely Sri Lankans, but this Act would pave the way for those who have generated black money globally to bring such money to Sri Lanka making Sri Lanka appear as a hotspot for money laundering,” he alleged calling the Act as Minister of Finance, Basil Rajapaksa’s Laundering Act.
He added that black money could be invested in the stock market, in the treasury bills and bonds and if there is no method of investing, such money could even be deposited in a bank account prior to 31 December. “We would be looked down upon internationally while being questioned at prestigious international conferences,” he said adding that it could damage the country’s reputation.
Dissanayake said the whole country will be prey for the needs of a few in order to legalise their black money stating that this Act in itself sufficiently defines the Government adding that it is as though a group of thieves have come into power.