The Cabinet has decided to re-appoint S.M. Charles as the Director General of the Customs Department for a period of three months.
Accordingly, the Cabinet paper presented by Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera seeking to appoint retired Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando as the Customs Director General has been withdrawn.
As a result of the new move, the work to rule campaign launched by Customs trade unions is likely to be called off today.
Unions alleged that Charles’ removal was engineered after she ordered probes on 143 suspicious containers. Minister Samaraweera, however, said that Charles was removed as the revenue from the department plummeted under her watch.
Some of these containers had direct links to Thusitha Halloluwa, a Coordinating Secretary of Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera, the subject minister of the Customs Department. Halloluwa had exerted pressure on Charles to appoint his ‘associates’ at the Customs Department to probe the suspicious containers and transfer the officers who are currently handling the issue.