Proceeds of Crime Act

Proceeds of Crime Act

“Proposed Proceeds of Crime Act: Sri Lanka’s Initiative to Combat Illicit Financial Flows”-Government Officials Present Ground-breaking Legislation to Combat Crime: A Closer Look at the Proposed Proceeds of Crime Act



President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe have collaborated to introduce a pivotal draft law aimed at curbing criminal activities in Sri Lanka. The legislation, titled the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), marks a significant step forward in the nation’s efforts to tackle illicit financial flows and combat organized crime.

The impetus for this legislative initiative came after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stipulated that such a law must be enacted before releasing the third tranche of US$ 337 million. Consequently, President Wickremesinghe and Minister Rajapakshe presented the draft to the Cabinet, emphasizing its crucial role in fulfilling international obligations and enhancing Sri Lanka’s legal framework.

The draft law, developed by the ‘Committee to Develop the Policy and Legal Framework and Draft Provisions of the Proposed Law on Proceeds of Crime,’ outlines comprehensive measures for the restraint, preservation, seizure, and forfeiture of proceeds obtained through criminal activities. It also introduces provisions for post-conviction forfeiture and proposes the establishment of the Proceeds of Crime Management Authority to oversee these processes.

An innovative aspect of the proposed legislation is its inclusion of civil remedies, allowing victims of crime to seek damages. This provision broadens the scope of accountability and ensures that those affected by criminal acts have avenues for recourse and compensation. Notably, the law encompasses various offenses, including bribery, corruption, drug trafficking, and other organized crimes, reflecting its wide-ranging impact on enhancing public safety and integrity.

To prevent the abuse of the law and safeguard human rights, meticulous attention has been paid to striking a balance between enforcement and protection. Minister Rajapakshe emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the legislation serves its intended purpose without being misused for political agendas or infringing on individual liberties.

Drawing inspiration from international best practices, particularly the Proceeds of Crime Act of the UK, the draft law represents a homegrown solution tailored to Sri Lanka’s specific needs and challenges. It underscores the government’s commitment to combatting financial crimes and fostering a more transparent and accountable society.

The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) in the UK has had significant impacts since its implementation. Here are some of the key results:

Disruption of Criminal Enterprises: POCA has provided law enforcement agencies with robust tools to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises by targeting their financial proceeds. Confiscating assets acquired through criminal activities has hit criminal organizations where it hurts the most – their financial resources.
Financial Penalties: The Act allows courts to impose hefty financial penalties on individuals convicted of criminal offenses. These penalties are often in addition to any other punishment imposed by the court, serving as a deterrent to would-be offenders and depriving criminals of the financial gains of their illicit activities.
Asset Recovery: POCA facilitates the recovery of assets obtained through unlawful means, including confiscation orders and civil recovery proceedings. This has enabled authorities to seize and recover millions of pounds worth of assets, ranging from cash and property to luxury goods, from criminals.


Funding Law Enforcement: Confiscated proceeds under POCA are often reinvested into law enforcement efforts, providing additional resources for combating crime and improving community safety. This has allowed for increased investment in specialized units dedicated to tackling organized crime, financial fraud, and other high-priority offenses.
Disrupting Money Laundering: By targeting the financial gains of criminal activities, POCA has helped disrupt money laundering networks and made it more difficult for criminals to legitimize their illicit funds. This has contributed to a more robust anti-money laundering regime and enhanced the UK’s reputation as a global leader in financial regulation and transparency.
Overall, the Proceeds of Crime Act in the UK has been instrumental in stripping criminals of their ill-gotten gains, deterring future criminal behavior, and bolstering law enforcement efforts to combat serious and organized crime

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