20 September, 2021

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Charles’ Removal Linked To Probe On 143 Containers: Mangala’s Coordinating Secretary, Finance Min. Secretary Have Given Unlawful Orders: Sirisena Stirring Up Issues Behind The Scenes

Former Customs Director General P.S.M. Charles has been removed from her position after she ordered probes on 143 suspicious containers, Colombo Telegraph can now reveal.

Mangala

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.

Charles has been removed from office after she flatly turned down their orders. Colombo Telegraph can also reveal that the forthright state official, the first woman to head the Customs Department, has also run into several confrontations with Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga over the same matter.

After Charles’ removal, Samaraweera sought Cabinet approval to appoint retired Navy officer, Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando as the Director General of Customs. The move sparked a fierce trade union action by customs unions who protested the appointment of a retired military officer as the Director General of Customs.

Samaraweera then made another move by appointing Finance Ministry Additional Secretary H.G. Sumanasinghe as the Acting Director General of the Department, in a desperate attempt to end the trade union action.

The Customs unions, however, demanded the reinstatement of Charles, saying she was transferred out due to the influence of smugglers who were at the heart of several controversial deals.

Thusitha Halloluwa

Addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday, Sudath de Silva, a spokesman of the Customs union said several senior officials including Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratuga and several top-notch political figures of the current government maintained close ties with the smugglers.

The discussions between Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the union turned hostile last evening and the union representatives stormed out of the meeting room as the minister remained adamant about the removal of Charles.

The Minister said the new Director General was appointed according to a Cabinet decision and the unions had no say in the matter. The union representatives told the Minister that they would not back down until the reinstatement of Charles.

Sirisena’s observations

As the discussions with the Minister failed, the Customs officers at the Colombo Port continued their work-to-rule campaign. They have not allowed the Acting Director General of the department to assume duties.

Presenting the Finance Minister’s version of the story, a spokesman close to him told Colombo Telegraph, it was Samaraweera who appointed Charles to the Director General’s position initially, along with four other females as heads of institutions under the purview of his Ministry.

“The Minister has a weekly review meeting every Thursday for heads of institutions overlooking sectors that generate revenue for the government. Over the past few months, there was a noticable decrease in the revenue generated by the Cumstoms Department. That was one main reason for the replacement of the former Director General,” the spokesman said.

“The Minister also came to the realization that smuggling was becoming a serious issue for the economy. It has been revealed that Velvetithurai in the Northern province is a major entry point for smuggled goods. Therefore, it was important to have a Customs chief who is conversant with military operations to tackle the issue. This is why a former Navy officer was selected as the Director General of Customs.”

“To this date, the former Director General has not told the minister that she had come under pressure from members of the minister’s staff. Today, there was a meeting between the, minister and the former DG and that the meeting she told Samaraweera that she was under the assumption that the minister was aware of the conduct of his associates. There was a clear communication gap,” the spokesman explained.

He said today’s meeting between the minister and the former DG was positive and Samaraweera offered her a senior position in the Finance Ministry.

Meanwhile, it is also learnt that President Maithripala Sirisena is working behind the scenes to stir up the issue as part of his plans to create problems in the government from within. In his observations to Samaraweera’s Cabinet paper last week, Sirisena said any move to appoint retired persons outside the administrative service to key government positions would set a bad precedence. Sirisena recommended to appoint a person from the same service as the Director General of Customs.

Sirisena’s observation was shot down by Samaraweera who said appointing any suitable person for the position was well within the rights of the minister.

Former President and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa also issued a statement on the current crisis saying over the past four years, the Department of Customs had seen four Director Generals. Rajapaksa whose ten-year administration was marred with allegations of large-scale smuggling said the government should be held responsible for any impact the ongoing trade union action would cause on cost of living.

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Latest comments

  • 34
    2

    The unions are right. The unbelievable corruption in sacking Ms Charles should be reversed as an example of good governance need to protect honest officers.

    Where are the NGOs, Transparency International and KC Weliamuna, male nurse Saman, Viyangoda, Dambre Litro, Pakiasothy and his cohort Sanjana Hathotuwa and Sarath Wijesuriya on all this?
    Why don’ they come out to demand reinstatement of Ms Charles?

    They are rogues who are propping up this corrupt yamapalanaya of bank breakers and drugs importers.Down with these rogues.

    • 5
      1

      Mike,
      “Where are the NGOs, Transparency International and KC Weliamuna, male nurse Saman, Viyangoda, Dambre Litro, Pakiasothy and his cohort Sanjana Hathotuwa and Sarath Wijesuriya on all this?”
      —————
      These very honest and dedicated people who fight to protect Democracy hear only what they like to hear and see only what they like to see. That is their style of doing business.
      —————-
      After SLFP left the ‘Awa-Jathika’ Government, UNP abandoned ‘Yahapalanaya’. So there is nothing wrong with this behavior. Crooks protecting Crooks!

  • 19
    0

    Are there any honest staff at the Customs?

    If you allow the cargo to go through the Customs without inspection, then you get paid by the importers.

    If you catch the wrongdoers, then you get paid by the government.

    It is a win-win story for every action you take.

    • 2
      0

      Exactly

  • 5
    0

    I hope Ms. Charles would appeal her dismissal to the Public Service Commission.

  • 6
    0

    Customs detained several containers of H Iron last year imported by Relax Steel for under invoicing and using wrong HS code. Minister Mangala Samarajeewa got the containers released without penalty and any action.
    Surprisingly then the customs unions did not retort to trade union action then.

  • 4
    0

    You cannot expect Mangalawera to know about women. ‘Hell has no fury than a woman scorned’ Take care.

  • 11
    0

    Now, all of you know who Mangala Samaraweera is! Also you should know why RaviK is crying and eyeing for the Finance minister post. The Y-cat has come out of the lat!
    The entire Yahapalana gang of so-called ‘law-makers’ have become lawbreakers; they support and cover criminals, underworld thugs and offenders, villains, cheaters, black hats, delinquents of all types, malefactors, culprits, wrongdoers, transgressors, sinners and daytime robbers. Examples are ample! Sri Lanka will be heaven if people can get rid of this gang immediately. However, the constitution and the judicial system seem to be in favor of them in order to maintain the corrupt system that prefers the absence of elections. 19th amendment has become a curse rather than a remedy!
    Where are those comment writers who shout hosannas on daily basis on CT to support this corrupt government. These boot-licking blood suckers who live in and write from foreign countries are silent on corruption and criminal financial acts of the Yahapalanya. They are silent on increasing the ministerial posts, which will cost the poor taxpayer at least another half a billion rupees annually. Those who write in favor of this government are criminally responsible for indirectly supporting the existence of this corrupt government.
    When the Media report the real nature of government, they are called black, named black, degraded to black by none other than the Prime Minister of the country. That too not at any outside political rally, but on the floor of Parliament! Is he promoting a media apartheid!
    I’ve a request to CT! Don’t blame the people if they vote for a Hitler to chase this gang out of Sri Lanka at the next presidential election!

  • 7
    0

    Sack this minister & re-appoint as minister of hair dressing

    • 3
      1

      sarath rajaguru

      “Sack this minister & re-appoint as minister of hair dressing”

      Then what? Appoint another corrupt in his place?

  • 6
    0

    Has the clean coat Finance Minister now become the agent of rogues, drug dealers and smugglers?

  • 7
    0

    President can revoke the transfer of Mrs. Charles. What’s the big deal?
    Minister of Finance should not interfere with Customs duties, examinations and investigations. He can mind his own job.

  • 4
    0

    President can easily revoke the unreasonable transfer of Mrs. Charles. What’s the big deal?
    Minister of Finance should not interfere with Customs duties, examinations and investigations. He can mind his own job.

  • 10
    0

    Holy cow!!! 143 suspicious containers??? 143?
    Why Mangala is agitated? Some time ago, one of Mangala’s staff members was accused for supplying drugs to beach parties. May be these containers have drugs hidden in them? May be. There should be some illegal products in these containers and Mangala must be fully aware of it.
    Samaratunga may have followed his Minister’s orders. President should replace Samaratunga with someone else to break the connection.

    • 0
      3

      Champawati,

      If it is Air Cargo the containers are of different in size from sea cargo. Then why would you waste your saliva to count 143? Whether it is one or 143, if its transshipment and the fee were paid it use the port, why the customs is blocking the shipment? Nothing is going to be distributed for local use! Then why the customs officer is wasting her time and others’ time to check the cargo? If the government has had a deal, whether she did know about it, or not she is in fault. If she didn’t know that is her fault as the Chief Officer; if she did know and but still blocked, it then also it is her fault. She may be trying to squeeze some undue duty and get a name. But does she know many of her merchandise are going through without paying duty because the government has GSP+ deal. Is the customs officer’s determination that she wants to lose GSP+ but want to charge duty for transshipments?

      Lankawe is listed as one in the 19 money laundering haven because of Foreign Exchange Fraud Amnesty Act of 2017. How much you have written so far on this Mangala’s Act? If Locals bring in illegal money then that is legal, but if foreigners bring their merchandise legally and had transferred to their other destination, is it illegal for you?

      All what she wanted to do was to break a secret and she got the retaliation from the Sinhala Buddhist Ministers. Whether it is smart or not, or ethical or not, she pays the price for her action.

      The truth is New King listen to Lawyers like you and act. When the SC gives a verdict as he was wrong in his action, he says that he consulted really very good legal experts. Pathetic!

  • 4
    0

    Assorted politicians have been robbing Sri Lanka for decades. In the meantime hundreds of thousands of men women and children are underweight, wasted or stunted. This is from the Governments own figures http://www.statistics.gov.lk/social/nutrition%20status.pdf
    Is there no politician who cares at all? Apparently not.

    • 1
      1

      Paul

      Champika the ……
      believes the Department of Census and Statistics – Sri Lanka is owned by LTTE diaspora.
      Is it true?

  • 5
    0

    Where are the JVP’ers, Civil Society Dons and Barons who shed crocodile tears ?
    WHY THERE ARE NO COMMENTS COMING IN?
    Only focused on pushing the Constitution to break up the Country. Is Ms. Charles an obstacle to that too?
    DG Ms. P.S.M.Charles must stay. At least there is one State Servant whom we can honestly call Honest.
    What is your problem Mongol? Is it your LokuOluwa guy?

    Stand firm the Trade Unionists. No dancing to the music of Yahapalanaya Minister.

  • 0
    2

    Mangala signed the Resolution 30/1 and they broke it. Now Mangala is trying to avoid earning a name he broke up with US. Old King and New King want to get a point before the election. So they have got a Tamil to use it. Are Custom officials are all new then? Are they all Ranil’s appointments? Everybody do know when the Chitanta PM signed for narcotic container release nobody went on strike. Where they all were at that time?

    • 3
      0

      Mallaiyuran will do anything to protect Mangala who is a lackey of the LTTE fronts who are alleged to be linked to all types of smuggling.
      So, he defends the 143 suspicious containers. May be they contain trans-shipments that will benefit the TGTF. May be Samaraweera is with the TGTF and British Tamils because he is part of the suspicious businesses carried out by the TGTF and gets a cut from it? Yathartham will dawn on all these racist Tamils very soon, Insha Allah.

      • 0
        1

        @bodin
        Most probably these containers are for your Naanaas who are in stell business.
        Your people are today No:1 drug dealers in the world.
        No 1: Drug production in the world is in Afghanistan ..where they pray 5 times and talk about Haram.
        Today in Europe drug &prostitution network is monopolized by Albanians who are Musulims.
        Whatever your BUK says HARAM is popular among your people, this can be manipulated
        according to your need.
        Well done 4th century Scientist.
        Your Eastern Koverner has appointed only Musulims for all department heads …is this racism or Jihad against Tamils, who are the majority in the East .?

        Suppose if this Director General is a Musulim ??? God save SL.

        Cheers

      • 0
        0

        bodin
        “Yathartham will dawn on all these racist Tamils very soon,

        I don’t think these arms to clear Puttalam Thennamthauppu. You need not to get alarmed. Take time.

        But in that mean time, please explain to Champawati the need to send the Rapist Sinhala Buddhist Army to protect the Thennamthauppu before they come there. Champawati may think if the GSP+ is gone she can buy some more Redda Hatte cheaper. Tell her that time her favorite hamburger also will be gone from McDonalds. This is no bologna; real.

        This is only arms, not yet any troops. Now LTTE is not there. You remember how handy was LTTE to deal with the Indian army?

        Mangala placed a Lady Mahendran, when he started to manipulate the customs and exchange laws on his way, to protect his back from firings. But now it is backfiring.

        How long you have been in Islam bodin?

        Insha Buddha!

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 3
    0

    This culture will not change. The entire set of politicians should be wiped out first.

  • 6
    0

    Former Customs Director General P.S.M. Charles is an unbending public servant. She served in the North and in the East upholding the virtues of good governance. She was undeterred by criticism.
    _
    If there was any grounds to remove her from the post she was holding that should have been raised with her, before any disciplinary action.

  • 1
    0

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  • 2
    1

    Oh oh, hold it, do any one guess, the striking customs officials are holy cows, they are one of the worst corrupt lots in the public service. They demand from all and sundry. We are not white washing the Minister and his goons but the fact should be told. See the vehicles they use and look at the houses they live, and their life style. These fellows are really shameless, and milking the people owing to their greed.

    • 3
      1

      Hey Sena,
      You’re eating into the wrong corn at the wrong time. Don’t mix up things. This is not about custom officers but about the corrupt minister and his crooks. Don’t try to divert the attention toward the wrong direction just like pick pockets in CTB buses.
      You are like the Sena Dalambuwa! Instead of eating the corrupt ministers’ asses you try to eat the poor man’s corn.

    • 0
      0

      I agree, as this is the biggest earners amongst the Public Servants, the
      other being the Immigration Dept. Citizenship Div. They follow “rules”
      which are not even mentioned in their Website. I have information of
      two families that obtained 6 Passports for the children, all teenagers
      under 18 yrs.in Europe, paying the Dept. Officials in connivance with these Officers. The loot is shared. CBIOAC has been told of the “deals” but they are not moving as a lady Officers husband is high up in the Police, under MY3!

  • 1
    2

    Really guys?
    The Customs officers union is the good people in this mess,?
    Are you all deaf and dumb?
    The biggest cause for lost revenue is the Customs Officer, with who u can negotiate your preference for a lump sum or a percentage of the value, and just pay a token amount for paperwork.
    Are you chaps living in another planet?

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 2
    1

    There are custom officers who are from very poor backgrounds, but now, have billions worth properties in the names of wives and in laws. May be Ms. Charles does not know.

  • 2
    0

    Removing Mrs. Charles is one thing. (A more subtle move would have been to kick upstairs.) But appointing a Navy officer for that position makes anyone feel that there is an urgent need to get things done the way that the high ups want. Obviously what needs to be done would never have been performed by any career public servant, especially after the “Sil-redi” case. So the best course of action is to appoint some chap retired from the forces who is used to carry out orders without any question. [The order “Heluwen Sitin!” means strip yourself naked.] We all know that the word Integrity is lost in this game. Now, MY3 only whines in this instance. Earlier as the chair of the Cabinet he used to even differ permanently so called objectionable cabinet papers out of the agenda without being even discussed. NO! The man too has to be in the racket.

  • 2
    0

    It’s Wrong to Transfer a Civil Servant who failed the revenue target of Customs department while the state itself failed it’s duty
    Today Customs Union started it’s protest against the Decision of transferring the current Director General of Customs Sarojani Charles who is now clear scapegoat. The Union of Customs have made the right decision by standing for the right cause. Their demand to get the DGC to reinstate is very reasonable and save the Customs Department from possible paralysis. it’s a battle between the Political Mafia and Civil Servants. You cannot victimize a genuine and active civil servant as no other future heads of this departnent will go and take action against any influential figures who violates the Customs Regulations.
    This unfair and immature decision of our law makers are knowingly or unknowingly gifting a trump card to influential mafia business groups. They will use this as a leverage against future heads of Customs Department and that will rip off our economy.
    In the past, I had few one to one meeting with the Unjustifilably Victimized Director General to discuss about her active role with the department. I was amazed to see her plannings and strategies to improve the Customs Department process. She wants clearance process should become more user friendly. She played a big role to bring out many exposures inside her department. it’s a commendable achievement in a very short period.
    I had a telephone conversation with the media spokesperson of the Customs Department Mr Sunil Jayaratne regards to the current work to rule protest by the Customs Department.
    He said he is working in the Customs for the last 35 years but never come across such a talented DGC like the current DGC Mrs P M S Charles. Within a very short period of time she implemented various strategies that made lots of changes in our department and took brave and bold decisions to punish the wrongdoers stated by Jayaratne.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 0
    0

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  • 7
    3

    How many Co-ordinating Secs this Finance Minister Samare has?. .
    My elders tell me one got busted in Galkissa, while transporting two dudes in a Govt vehicle carrying Dope to a Beach Party..

    • 0
      1

      KA Sumanaya, just like your hero’s brother Basil the 3rd grade educated buffoon who had 15 coordinating secretaries as he could not read and use a computer. 70 years have gone by, racists on both sides are still talking about who came to Sri Lanka first like small children and there is no action.

    • 1
      2

      K A Sumanasekera KASmaalam

      You are back.
      How are you?
      Where you’ve been for nearly 3 months?
      We were worried about your absence from this forum however we did not miss you.

      “My elders tell me one got busted in Galkissa, while transporting two dudes in a Govt vehicle carrying Dope to a Beach Party.”

      Was it Malaka Silva?

      Or was it the former Coordinating Secretary Weerasinghe to the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs D.M. Jayaratne?

  • 0
    0

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  • 2
    0

    This shows clearly the so called RWs Yahapalanaya. There is no law in the country. Kirella has recently invited other parties who uphold values of Yahapalanaya to join hands to form national government. Is this the Yahapalanaya you blokes advocated in the election campaign. Bunkum.

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