23 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

  • 8
    0

    Mangala Is bringing so many problems to Customs. Customs should expose everything they can. Neo-liberal project is so close to completion. Mangala is putting the final touch. I do not know whether India will let Mangala dance the way he wants.

    • 1
      0

      Problems are in growing means Now “STOP THE CROOK MINISTERS AND THEIR DEPUTIES” henchmen employed to steal the nation , Otherwise the “WHOLE SALE FIDDLE” island wide will go on forever.
      There’s no place anywhere in Srilankan Politics to employ or nominate an Honest , Clean Official.
      The nation is Rotten to core within the establishments from the top to toe.
      This woman Mrs Charles did not agree for FRAUD she had become the latest victim for SLANDER.
      WELL DONE MRS Charles for PUTTING UP WITH THE CRIMINALS OF THE ESTABLISHMENT/ Your Ministry.
      This is the AGEOLD TRICK BY THE RULING CLASS.
      THE CONCLUSION !! CRIMINALITIES OCCURING IN APEH AANDUWE WITH THE BLESSINGS OF THE HEIERACHIES FROM THE PARLIAMENT.
      NO WAY OUT FOR ORDINARY SRILANKANS LET ALONE THE HONEST LAW ABIDING MINORITY WOMAN MINISTER MRS CHARLES A TAMIL.

  • 12
    2

    This Finance Minister said in 2015 that Rajapakses, stole 18 Billion US $.

    Now this fiasco, costing how many billons to the Sri Lankan Economy as given below:

    1. Biosecurty Risks on importing Karunka and Pepper from Indunesia,
    2. Foregion Exchange cost for unwanted products.
    3. Good will for Sri Lankan products like Pepper and other spices
    4. Costom duties at the proper rates and regulations
    5. Farmers losing money as they can not sell their pepper and other spices at reasonable prices.
    This is Yahapalanaya.

    Minister for “”Jangi and Bressiers”” should be retired as soon as possible.

    • 2
      3

      Sunil,
      .
      whatever slave fo Rajaakshes you may have been, what Rajakashes deliberately did would never bee burried under the carpet.
      :
      Days ahead BP Rajakashes will have to surrender before the COURT verdicts on long dragging court cases.
      :
      Now almost everything being revealed that there had been no MIG deal, but all those huge sums filled their pockets, avangarde grabs and all high profile fund abuses plus broad day light murders filed against them will corner the bugger et al glass clear.
      :
      Let s just wait few more months patiently. There we will see how these buggers would dead found on the drains to the very same manner, Gadafi family fated it. Jaya niyathayi.

      • 3
        0

        Trumpland first destroys the economy of countries and then intervenes in them, by installing and protecting their puppets as is clear in Latin America and the Sanctions against Venezuvela that has destroyed its economy .
        Washington’s doing the same in Sri Lanka with the Debt trap and crashing the rupee, while puppet Bondscam Ranil’s butterfly mafia are undermining all governance institutions and defense and border security institutions in order to push the Trumpland agenda of setting up military bases, code named logistics Hubs in Lanka.
        Ravi K is selling off Lanka’s Liquid Natural Gas in the Indian Ocean to another Trumpland proxy South Korea and Japan and doing swiss challenge tenders just like he looted the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

        Bondscam Ranil must be impeached for his financial crimes against Sri Lanka and for totally undermining National Security by undermining Customs, immigration and defense proceedure so that his Trumpland friends

      • 1
        0

        Trumpland first destroys the economy of countries and then intervenes in them, by installing and protecting their puppets as is clear in Latin America and the Sanctions against Venezuvela that has destroyed its economy .
        Washington’s doing the same in Sri Lanka with the Debt trap and crashing the rupee, while puppet Bondscam Ranil’s butterfly mafia are undermining all governance institutions and defense and border security institutions in order to push the Trumpland agenda of setting up military bases, code named logistics Hubs in Lanka.
        Ravi K is selling off Lanka’s Liquid Natural Gas in the Indian Ocean to another Trumpland proxy South Korea and Japan and doing swiss challenge tenders just like he looted the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

        Bondscam Ranil must be impeached for his financial crimes against Sri Lanka and for totally undermining National Security by undermining Customs, immigration and defense proceedure so that his Trumpland friends can dig in in the Cold War with China, loot Lanka which is an extremely wealthy country given its massive marine resources under UNCLOS Fisheries and LNG in addition to its strategic location in the fastest growing region of the world.
        Meanwhile, another Trumpland proxy Norway has done a tiny survey of Lanka’s huge ocean resources and produced questionable “research” findings to keep Sri Lankan Fishes poor and doing |artisan fisheries rather than sustainable industrialization of fishing given that Lanka has 24 times more ocean area and vast marine and potential aqua culture than land area under UNCLOS article 26

  • 5
    1

    143 containers of Calvin Klein Obsession for men?

  • 22
    3

    president should reinstate ms.charles and sack mangala samaraweera if he has the power to do so.

    • 3
      9

      why ?
      I dont think Mangala S is wrong here. THere should be something connected to with Ms Charles.
      Mangala has always been a sensitive politician. Compared to SILLYSENA, Mangala has always guts to call the spade a spade. You guys should wait a bit, not allowing crooks to build up an opinion against rulers. If there are any mal practises, no doubt, Mangala will clear that next days. :
      Right at the moment, SHITSENA is caught by numerous charges against president.
      President has been working togehter with culprits to be on good books of former Mafia BOss.

      • 0
        0

        seelawathi

        After living in the west for so long i know the way they do the administration.Nobody is considered indispensable and you are fired or forced to resign once you cross the line.That is why they are first world and we are third world and always will be.

  • 5
    8

    Paul

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

    • 2
      3

      Native Vedda
      A rare thank you to you for making me revisit my comment about statistics.
      It is extremely rare for me to read twice before posting my comments.
      I am looking for that particular comment to reply.
      If you read the first line of my comment, I said to Ajith “as you say there were 1 million Tamils in 1981…..”
      I never take figures from other people’s comments.
      I always check by myself.
      It is my bad for NOT checking 1981 statistics by myself. As I was replying to Ajith, I took the number from his comment. The difference between 1 million and 2.2 million is 1.2 million. That is why I said double.
      The rest in my comment based on the sources checked by myself is correct.
      In 1981, the figure was 1.8 million and in 2011 the figure was 2.2. Alright. What is the missing number – it is 400K. Not a problem, I can easily prove that they have migrated to Europe, India and North America. Let me find the comment.

      • 3
        4

        Champa……………

        Are you blaming Ajith for your mistakes?
        This is not the first time you have made factual mistake and this is not the last.
        You never own up your mistakes nor do you apologise for it, a special quality the South Asians enjoy.
        Make sure you don’t respond if the subject matter is based on facts. Keep yourself away from facts.
        Please do continue with your fantasies.

        • 0
          2

          Native Vedda
          .
          I have never ever made ANY factual mistakes in any of my comments, as I ALWAYS quoted the source.
          This is the FIRST TIME I took a figure mentioned in somebody else’s comment.
          When we talk about demographics, it is the general understanding that the number covers the entire country.
          I challenge you to prove if I ever make any mistakes in my comments.
          And this happens as I took the figure from Ajith’s comment to counter his assertion.
          If I read this particular comment of mine before posting, I would have noticed the error of quoting demographic figures given by somebody else without a source.
          I don’t see any reason to apologize as I clearly said in my comment, “Ajith, as you say, in 1981, if there were 1 million…..” giving the “due credit” to him for the figure taken from his comment.

          • 1
            0

            NV , never trust Champa the Liar.
            With his contradicting views you can never take him and his comments seriously.
            Like the FLIES which flies from one garbage to another for its Prey.
            KAS has chronic depression ,so too our Champa.
            They’re suffering the after effects of 71 years of ” Aapeh Aanduwe Independence” , the Karmic Land that no other land on earth similar to.
            They’re still wallowing in their Karma while their Masters are Infighting , Backbiting, and destroying the beloved nation.

  • 2
    1

    It is strange that Sri Lankans take such corruption lying down. It is great to observe that customs officers are fighting back. Customs officers should release all the information. Surely the President can appoint a Commission to investigate this!
    RW is a dead duck!!

  • 2
    0

    Nothing will come out of this exercise. Tell me any scandal involved by politicians was solved in the favor of the country?. The reason is all from the top to bottom are corrupt. For instance take the bottom step in this probe ladder.- The customs department itself. Their file is in the hands of the next step in the ladder and the next. This goes on up to the top man in the ladder himself. Who is supreme corrupt himself.
    So what do you expect? There would be a huge hue & cry for few days. By next month this would be forgotten. Everybody will live happily thereafter. In the meantime a small man will be caught with a mg of drugs and most probably will qualify for the first person to get the death sentence in our modern Banana Republic. Any bets on this?

    • 3
      0

      It is time for Ranil to dissolve Parliament. Before that allow UNP Ministers to make billions. Ranil has lost the confidence of the whole nation, mainly of UNP ers.

  • 1
    1

    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

  • 1
    1

    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
    0

    However much politicians, ministers, Prime Minister and the President shout on stage their dedication to eliminate corruption, they are only for the gullible public consumption.

    These corrupt parliamentarians do need corrupt officers to carry out their underhand deals under the protection of the parliamentary privileges.

    • 0
      0

      Fat hopes.
      They are the MAIN SOURCE OF CORRUPTION.
      All the politicos of al sides in SL bar a handful are there to line their pockets in BIG TIME (enough for 7 generations) at the expense of the poor taxpayers

  • 4
    0

    Re instate Ms.Charles to her former position . Sack this swollen headed minister immediately and Inquire into the shady underhand dealings of this scoundrel Thusitha Gal Oluwaa! Ranil should understand that `paathaala` dealings of this minister is doing irreparable damage to the UNP! He is not a man who can handle a ministry!

  • 5
    0

    143 containers! Why not let the authorities check them? What is there to hide in them? Has the Minister become the Minister of KUDU affairs?

  • 3
    0

    How can we the public ever learn the truth in cases like this? Is Mangala kicking out Charles because she is getting tough on smugglers? If so why should Mangala be protecting criminals – he has not been accused of such actions before, I think? Why is the Cabinet going along with the sacking? Is there far more to this than meets the eye?
    When everyone is a crook (opposition and government) I am totally at a loss.

  • 2
    0

    Every minister uses someone else to do their dirty work. Mangala uses Halloluwa.

  • 1
    0

    Isn’t it this same Halloluwa who was caught balguarding a journalist in utmost filth?

    • 0
      0

      Yes!

  • 0
    0

    EW Golding said “he has not been accused of such actions before”

    Golding have you been hibernation for 24 years?

  • 2
    0

    This crook Halloluwa ( hollow head)once claimed he was responsible for toppling Rajapakse and bringing in Sirisena !

    He has always been in the Mangala orbit. Mangal is another misfortune to have happened to the country.

    What rats we have in public life !

  • 0
    0

    Mangala is becoming stronger every day. Is he up to anything. Will he jump ship when time is ripe. He has two options – join AAppa Sira or MR camps if they promise him PM post

  • 0
    0

    Mangala and Halloluwa are up to a crooked mission yet again, watch out please

  • 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

      Ms Makandura,
      thanks very much for keeping it that short.
      Get well soon.

  • 0
    0

    If the contents of the article are correct then I hope the trade union action continues until the DG is reinstated.

  • 0
    0

    Minister has once openly admitted that he used to give letters to customs to reduce duties. to known people. This was made when the issue of former PM Jayaratne’s letter given to a person who was subsequently identified as a Pakistani Drug Smuggler.

    It is time to hold General Election and send these corrupt Ministers Home or to Prison. They are playing with the citizens Money. UNP has proved that they are the party of most corrupt men.

  • 0
    0

    Corruption is rampant in Sri Lanka, notably in the public sector. Customs is the leading department, next to Police, where corruption thrives from top to bottom. Customs officials have been caught red-handed accepting bribes in millions from corrupt businessmen. It is not unusual for Customs officers to hold lavish wedding receptions in 5-star hotels. Their salary cannot permit such luxury spending. Having said that why did the Coordinating Secretary of Finance and Media Minister Halloluwa 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. Mangala Samaraweera and his party came to power on a pledge to wipe-out corruption. They have proved that they are no better than Rajapaksa and his forty thieves.
    If the Customs revenue has shown a decline, the Minister must probe the causes. Transferring Mrs.Charles is not the way to deal with declining revenue. This storyline is a refuge using subterfuge.
    Both the Minister Samaraweera and his Co=ordinating Secretary must explain why the latter asked certain officers probing the suspicious containers to be transferred their places filled with his lackeys.
    The UNP/UNF leaders had not learnt any lessons from the October 26the coup. Maybe they will never.

  • 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

  • 1
    0

    Every minister uses a dummy to do their dirty games

    Big headed Halloluwa is a crook to the core who performs most of Mangala’s dirty deeds.

  • 1
    0

    Remove those pirith nool Halloluwa, remove them

  • 0
    0

    Correct me if I am wrong please.
    “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”
    Don’t you guys think the above headline explains it all?
    The culprits are the two secretaries, not the minister. This is the best opportunity for Mangala to get rid of them both. I do not think Mangala is stupid enough to go against a department and a well organized group of unions with hardworking middle class employees to save a ‘corrupt fraudster’ like Haloluwa ‘Gamarala Sillysen’ & Mahinda Jarapassa’ are well aware of Mangala’s capabilities of turning things around, a master planner, politically and finds him as the main threat for his coup/campaign. Mrs. Charles will be back in her chair very soon, I hope.

  • 0
    0

    spring koha double, you are spot on. Halloluwa is a butterfly, he ought not wear the sacred pirith nool. He can wear a bracelet if he wishes. Yes gold as they have pots of crooked money

  • 1
    0

    Kurundu Polu Emperor Mangala Samaraweera, the American lackey
    stands exposed.
    Like Ranil Wickremesinghe he is also not a Mr Clean and has many,
    many skeletons in his wardrobe.
    He is sitting on top of an empire of bribe takers, ethanol dealers, liquor
    mudalalis and one UNPer, now close advisor to President Maithripala
    Sirisena.
    Mrs Charles is booted out and Mangala has no time for her now. He and
    his Black Label buddies are too busy promoting election work together
    with Dirty Harry the donator.

  • 0
    0

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