The use of video conferencing technology, joint investigations comprising investigators from Sri Lanka and other countries or specified organisations and search of computer data are to be included in a new amendment to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act of 2002.
The amendment — to be taken up in Parliament on Tuesday– identifies offences relating to money laundering and criminalises offences related to bribery outlined in Article 16 of the United Nations Convention against Bribery and Corruption and also incorporates computer systems and data-related criminal offences.
Approval to amend the Act was granted by the Cabinet last month on a proposal by Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorala. The Act provides for combating transnational crimes and strengthening the prevention of crimes and internal investigation and confiscation of the proceeds of the crimes.
The use of video and audio transmission technology to lead evidence will be allowed in cases where a witness is physically present in a foreign country and unable to attend courts in Sri Lanka. The hearing in such an instance should be conducted directly by a judicial officer or a law enforcement officer.
In cases when a request is made where an offence is committed involving persons or property in multiple countries, the authorities will be allowed to facilitate a joint investigation, comprising investigators from Sri Lanka and any specified countries or specified organisations.