Colombo confiscates Tamil rehabilitation funds

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 18 November 2008, 23:51 GMT]
Around 71 million Rupees in the accounts of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) in the Sri Lankan banks have been confiscated by the Sri Lankan Government, according to a press release by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on Tuesday. The move is widely seen as an act of 'structural genocide' against Eezham Tamils, preventing Tamils looking after their own rehabilitation, discouraging individual, organisational and international contribution to Tamil rehabilitation and also as a response of Colombo to the rehabilitation funds being raised by the Government of Tamil Nadu, said a TRO activist in Norway.

The TRO has been a registered NGO in Sri Lanka. It operates internationally in raising funds. Its speed, quality of humanitarian relief and emergency response on the construction of temporary shelters in the aftermath of Tsunami even received an award from the former president of Sri Lanka Chandrika Kumaratunga.

The Colombo government suspended the TRO funds wth effect from 04 September 2006 coinciding with the beginning of the current phase of the aggressive war. The U.S. government followed suit by freezing the funds in the U.S. banks since 15 November 2007.

Their reasoning that the funds of TRO are diverted to LTTE activities is consistently denied by the TRO.

Full text of the press relase issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, follows:

CENTRAL BANK OF SRI LANKA

Communications Department
30, Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 01, Sri Lanka.
Tel : 2477424, 2477423, 2477311
Fax: 2346257, 2477739
E-mail: dcommunications@cbsl.lk, communications@cbsl.lk
Web: www.cbsl.gov.lk

Press Release
Issued by: Financial Intelligence Unit
Date: 18-11-2008

TRO Funds forfeited to the State

A sum of approximately Rupees 71 million which was lying to the credit of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) at the time the funds of the TRO were frozen, have now been forfeited to the State.

The TRO accounts were suspended in Sri Lanka in terms of the provisions of the Financial Transactions Reporting Act and the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act in August 2006. Such suspension was carried out on the grounds that the large sums of money received by the TRO from time to time from international non-governmental organizations, individuals, foreign entities and TRO branches in several foreign locations, purporting to be funds for humanitarian projects in Sri Lanka, were, according to intelligence reports, mainly used to finance terrorist activities, and that the money, securities or credits which were lying to its credit were being used or intended to be used for such purposes.

Investigations are yet in progress to trace and forfeit any further funds and assets belonging to the TRO. Accordingly, the general public is cautioned that they should not have any financial transactions or any other links with the TRO, or with any of its officers, since any involvement including any financial connection with a proscribed organization, is a criminal offence.


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